Chi is a Chinese word for life force energy or life breath. Those of you who practice yoga might be more familiar with chi’s synonym prana – and perhaps that will give you more of an understanding of what the chi concept means. According to traditional Asian studies, human body is entwined with various energies – to achieve harmony in your life you first have to align your energies. Oh, you don’t have time for this energy shebang because you’re going shopping? Well, lucky you – if you’re in Birmingham you can slot in a few dumplings, a cocktail or a plate of sushi at Chi Kitchen – a pan Asian restaurant (& a chi sanctuary) on the 3rd floor of Debenhams in Bullring!
And that’s exactly what Terri (her blog is here) & I did when we were in Bullring yesterday. With achy feet, hands covered in lip liner swatches and eyeballs flickering from all the sales, we found a safe harbour at Chi Kitchen. This pan Asian gem offers cuisine inspired by Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese and Vietnamese food – paired with the most thoughtful & kind service and an ever so pleasant interior.
Terri had the fanciest of drinks to start with – it had a whole Hibiscus blossom in it! I had a slightly less fancy looking but equally as delicious mocktail topped with a fresh strawberry. Then the real food magic started – at Chi Kitchen they are not stingy on food wizardry – I mean, platters of the most flavoursome sushi engulfed in white smoke? Yes, please. We had a little nibble of many, many dishes that afternoon, it was so difficult to choose just one – when you’re reading the menu you’re essentially presented with 5+ different cuisines! You will ultimately get overwhelmed by it all at one point or another – that’s why one of my favourite things on the menu must be the Express Set Menus. You just can’t go wrong with a bowl of Wonton soup, a Dim sum platter and a cuppa of Jasmine green tea. In fact that’s what my culinary dreams are made of – Asian dumplings and green tea. Aaaaah. We also tried some slightly less obvious pan Asian choices – a duck & watermelon salad, grilled king oyster mushrooms (oh my god!) and the ultimate favourite – sea bass with chilli & lime. If you’re not too fussed about fish then please, I’m begging you, at least try the BBQ menu which also comes with a little BBQ sea bass, that one’s magnificent!
All in all, this is probably the best, most flavoursome food I’ve had in a while – everything at Chi Kitchen is so fresh and (literally) mouth-watering! That’s something that many restaurants have forgotten about – it’s not just about giving people a steak & bringing the bill, the presentation and taste play major part in me deciding whether to come back or not. And I will be back at Chi Kitchen, I most definitely will. Just saying.
Please note Chi Kitchen is now permanently closed.