Saturday, 1 October 2016
Afternoon Tea at Chi Kitchen
Chi Kitchen is a pan-Asian restaurant in Debenhams in the Bullring. It's department store dining but not as you know it. Chi Kitchen has steadily built up a good reputation and I have heard particularly good things about their seafood.
My first visit was to try their new Asian Afternoon Tea. Edd and I went along on a sunny Sunday afternoon, with no idea what to expect. I'd seen pictures of the cakes, which looked lovely and very green but I wasn't sure what the other tiers would be like. Surely no scones? Perhaps wraps instead of sandwiches.
We were greeted and taken to our seats in the large, bright window. The view is almost nice- looking up Smallbrook Queensway towards the Pagoda Roundabout and the Raddison hotel. There are plans to clean the buildings up a bit so that will improve matters.
Inside the restaurant was lovely- very bright with splashes of blue. It was also pretty busy; a good sign. We were brought Thai prawn crackers with a sweet chilli dip to nibble on while we waited for our afternoon tea.
There is the option to have a glass of prosecco with your afternoon tea, which we went for, of course.
An important part of afternoon tea, for me, is the tea. I like to have an interesting choice, so I was pleased that as well as standard English Breakfast and Earl Grey, you could also have Jasmine or Malaysian Pulled Tea.
Edd chose Jasmine, which arrived in a lovely glass tea pot. It was a lovely delicate tea but became over-brewed as the tea bag stayed in there- it would be good to have a little plate with it to drop the tea bag onto.
I chose the Malaysian Pulled Tea, which is like a less-sweet chai latte. Milky, foamy, with a strong tea taste.
Our food took a little while to arrive, which surprised me as I assumed it would be prepared in advance. We were also surprised to have one stand each, but this meant the stands weren't over-crowded and kept the presentation beautiful.
So, to compare to a traditional afternoon tea- we had dim sum instead of sandwiches, little Asian savoury snacks instead of scones and there were still plenty of cakes.
I love Dim Sum and was pleased to see four little bites in the steamer. They had ran out of Chicken and Prawn Siu Mai and replaced it with a Prawn Dumpling. Disappointing as Siu Mai are my favourites but never mind. I liked that the steamed dumplings had been topped with colourful and flavoursome fish roe and the prawns inside were plump and juicy.
The little orange parcel was a fried chicken and mushroom wonton, tasty but forgettable. I preferred the steamed prawn dumplings, but that's just personal taste.
Onto the next layer. You can see the chicken satay in the foreground. This was Edd's favourite and he doesn't usually enjoy satay. Tender meat, a delicious creamy sauce.
The chicken bun was delicious but I wanted more of it! I enjoyed the filling of the Malaysian chicken curry puff but I'm not a pastry fan so I didn't finish it ll. The spring roll was filled with plenty of veggies.
I liked the addition of the salad leaves and cucumber; they were nothing special but I always like having a bit of lettuce to lighten things up.
Cake time! The little green wrap is a coconut pancake and it was my absolute favourite thing I ate that afternoon. Sweet and moist, with a really unusual texture. Edd doesn't like coconut so he didn't enjoy it, naturally I ate his too.
The cupcake doesn't look that inspired but was actually a lovely banana cake. The green tea cheesecake was nice and had a good hit of lime too. I didn't like the biscuit base so I just scraped it off.
Finally, pandan pannacotta had a delicate taste but the texture was a little too gelatinous. I ate it up none the less.
Beautifully presented food and an interesting twist on the classic Afternoon Tea. It also made me want to return and try the main menu as everything looked so delicious on other people's tables. Afternoon Tea is £16.95 pp or £19.95 with prosecco. A lovely treat.
Chi Kitchen, Debenhams, Bullring
Photos by Helen and Edd
Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes.