Chi Kitchen is a restaurant chain, based here in the UK in locations London and Birmingham. The contemporary pan-Asian restaurant was created as an exclusive departmental brand for the high street retailer Debenhams, they are now celebrating 1 year since the opening on the ground floor of the Oxford street store, which is the one I had attended. What was nice that even though they are part of the department store the restaurant also had their own separate entrance, which is great, so you don’t need to push yourself through an incredibly busy department store and it makes them feel quite exclusive.
The interior style was gorgeous, with a champagne bar on arrival, and a display of delicious sushi on ice. The gorgeous accents of marble, timber and leather, help to create an elegant and welcoming setting. I was told that the interior was inspired by five different elements, that’s typical me, I cannot remember all of them but these did include earth, fire and wood.
I had attended the restaurant for a beautiful prosecco lunch set menu, which I was incredibly excited about, that is if you know me, you know how much I love my food and pan-asian food is certainly one of my favourites. The menu is influenced by Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean food. Which is all right up my street! Quoted from themselves, “Chi Kitchen takes diners on a truly unique culinary journey through South East Asia”.
We had a seat and was greeted with a complimentary glass of prosecco on arrival or you could choose from a freshly squeezed mango juice. The starters came and I couldn’t believe my eyes, I know that everyone says this, but let me explain. When I go anywhere fancy to eat, the portion sizes seem to always be incredibly tiny, as they say it’s more about the quality, which I agree with, but sometimes you’re starving and it’s just not enough. So this is what I was expecting, but no! The portion sizes were great, the presentation was stunning and the smell was out of this world. Each course had a selection of dishes brought to the table that everyone was able to pick from and there was way enough for all of us.
We started with vegetable spring rolls, chicken satay on skewers and a duck watermelon salad. The vegetable springs were definitely not like those I get from the Chinese takeaway, they weren’t greasy and the pastry was soft but crisp on the outside. The chicken satay again was lovely, the peanut sauce was divine and I’m sure I could have eaten this just on its own. The duck and watermelon salad was aromatic crispy duck with watermelon, cashew nuts and Thai herbs. This was like no other salad I have tasted and even though the combination sounds that this won’t go, but it really did. The duck was moist and had incredibly juicy parts of watermelon within this, but what brought this altogether was the selection of Thai herbs. This has to have been the reigning champion of a lunch for me and is now one of my favourite dishes.
After this, the abundance of food the mains came soon after, which included sweet and sour prawns, Cha Keow Taew (flat noodle stir-fry with chicken), Nyonya curry (Malaysian curry), jasmine rice and Chilli and lime sea bass. All the mains were delicious, the sea bass was incredibly delicate but full with flavour. Out of the mains, the Nyonya curry has to have been my favourite dish this was a Malaysian curry with potatoes, tomatoes and chilli which we had the vegetarian option but this can come with meat or seafood. The combined flavours will absolutely blow your mind as it did mine, the vegetables were not overly soft but still had some bite to them the curry flavour was gorgeous and had just the right amount of spice.
Lastly we had a platter of desserts that included a caramel cheesecake with passion fruit and a selection of sorbets and ice creams. As I’m not someone who has much of a sweet tooth I was more looking forward to the mango sorbet, but I was totally surprised at myself and found myself loving the the caramel cheesecake, which were absolutely huge if you take into account these were per person.
The overall meal was delicious and I take my hat off to the chef, I will certainly be making another visit to ‘Chi Kitchen’ again.