Once upon a time I went for a casual lunch at Chi Kitchen and had my Pan-Asian loving socks knocked off. For an unassuming corner inside Debenhams’ Oxford Street flagship, Chi Kitchen really exceeds expectations.
Rather than ‘Chi’ monikering Chinese, the Kitchen’s verbal antecedent represents Asia’s philosophical energy; the feel of their restaurant is as intentional as the menu. And it really shows. Chi boasts endless light, smiles, and a perfect assortment of well-presented Asian dishes curated by their Executive Chef, MasterChef 2014 winner Ping Coombes.
They’ve even got a champagne bar.
Forgoing midday bubbles for a sit-still culinary tour, we made our way through roasted Wagyu beef puffs (honey-glazed with sesame seeds), kimchi, unbelievably seasoned Sambal chilli prawns, tender Szechuan Sirloin beef, and two bowls of Laksa (essentially Peranakan ramen). The Tom Yum version of which – available with either chicken or prawns – was delicious but completely beasted by the Malaysian; Laksa’s traditional spicy broth with tofu, prawn, fish balls, boiled eggs and vermicelli noodles.
Each aspect of the meal was so impressive I refused to leave without trying dessert. Respectively, the chocolate sphere impressed everyone – even those on tables around us – as a decadent show of melting chocolate while the baked green tea alaska stole my heart. As flavourful, light desserts go, Ping’s creation is as good as it gets.