While Campsie doesn’t have the late-night dining options of suburban hot spots like Burwood, if you visit a little earlier in the evening, you'll still find a vibrant food scene.
Located on Beamish Street, Campsie's main drag, Sichuan Impression is a bright, white space with orderly rows of white tables surrounded by high-backed dark wood chairs. They’re nearly all filled by men, chatting animatedly with each other, rising to toast each other’s good fortune with booze they've brought in.
Not being smart enough to bring wine, we’re drinking Chinese Hot Tea ($2) that suits the chilly weather, and a smoky Prune Drink ($3) that - over the course of my last few Chinese reviews - has begun to grow on me.
Illustrated by photos, the menu is in both Chinese and English, making it easy to select your dishes. We start with four puffy Mushed Sweet Pumpkin Cakes ($6.80/4) with their nutty sesame seed-dotted exteriors balancing their sweet pumpkin interiors rather nicely.
Eaten in isolation, Kung Pao Scallops ($22.80) strike me as a bit sweet, but the dish grows on me with tiny well-cooked scallops, crisp red and green capsicum, chillis, peanuts and sweet curls of white onion.
Taken in combination with a much more savoury wok full of Dry Fry Potatoes ($16.80) the scallops help make create a meal that strokes all of your palate. The even better potato dish contains thinly sliced spuds fried off in sesame oil with a splash of soy, Sichuan peppercorns, ginger, garlic and chilli. Each sliver of potato is perfectly cooked - some are crunchy and full of flavour, because most of the starch has been rinsed away. The mandolined potatoes are broken up with flavoursome red chilli and a small amount of thin pork slices. I find it hard to keep my chopsticks away from this dish.
To round out the meal with some greens, we hit up Stir Fried Chinese Cabbage ($13.80) with dried chilli. It’s savoury and compelling without being too hot. Once again, by itself this dish is nothing too flash, but eaten in combination with our other dishes, it adds up to a great meal for two people that was priced fewer than seventy bucks.
233 Beamish Street, Campsie
Ph: (02) 8065 3679