Fancy a winter warmer? We’ve developed an addiction to the new takeaway counter between Baozi Inn and Jen Café in Chinatown. The signs in Chinese characters above the door and in the window translate as ‘People’s Republic Skewer Skewer Fragrance’ – but as it’s run by Baozi Inn, let’s just call it the Baozi Inn takeaway. A huge pot of chillies and sichuan pepper boils like a witches’ cauldron, and is used as the hotpot for a choice of a score or more of skewers which cook in around two minutes. Lamb, cuttlefish ball, shiitake mushroom, dried bean curd, ‘prawn balls’ which are hollow like macaroni – they’re all destined for the pot, and cost a mere £1-£1.20 per skewer. Be warned that the hotpot spice really is hot – the huge, steamed baozi (filled buns) they takeaway also sells (two meats, one veggie version) are a useful palliative to the ma-la (’numbing’-’hot’) of the sichuan pepper and whole chillies. There are no seats and barely any standing room in the little takeaway. Guy Dimond
Baozi Inn takeaway, 27 Newport Court, WC2H 7JS.