Chi Kitchen in Tyburn
Debenhams’ flagship Oxford Street superstore has become home to Chi Kitchen, a pan-Asian restaurant serving up delicious dishes influenced by Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese and Korean cuisine during the store’s opening hours. Simply decorated and furnished to create a relaxing environment with clean lines, warm lighting, comfortable booths, table seating and a sushi bar beside an open kitchen, Chi Kitchen’s appearance alone sets an inviting tone for diners.
We begin our time at the Chi Kitchen with glasses of the fresh lychee juice and the coconut bubble tea. The first is as expected: incredibly fresh, tangy and sweet from all the fresh fruit. The bubble tea takes a little longer to arrive, our host explaining that the teas are made from scratch to order. The milk is thick and sweet, with each tapioca bubble bursting playfully in the mouth, an element of surprise with each sip.
For our starters we opt for the Popcorn Shrimp, made with a wasabi mayonnaise that lovingly coats the crispy tempura shrimps to add a sweet and almost buttery taste. Accompanied by a salad and decorated with pomegranate jewels, which add a punch of acidity and a pop of texture, this dish sets us off in a positive direction for the rest of our meal.
We also sample the Salt and Pepper Baby Squid. The batter is crisp and surprisingly light, with each bite-sized morsel dusted with the perfect amount of seasoning and holding delicate, tender and sweet pieces of baby squid within it. The garnish of fresh chillies and crunchy garlic slices adds a welcome kick that lifts the dish, especially when combined with the sweet and zingy chilli sauce on the side.
For our second course, we try the Grilled Lamb Chops with Shemiji Mushroom. Marinated in a sweet barbecue and curry sauce and served medium at our request, the chops are lightly charred on the outside, resulting in a crusty exterior that contains juicy, flavoursome meat. The accompanying mushrooms are tender and peppery, with a welcome nutty aftertaste, and the salad that accompanies the chops adds another textural element, creating a beautifully balanced dish. Our side of plain Mantou Buns are soft and fluffy, the perfect tool to mop up the remaining sauce from our plates, which is not to be wasted.
Our second prawn dish of the day, the Sambal Prawns, doesn’t betrays the first in quality or quantity: a generous helping of plump, firm prawns cooked with cucumber, red onions and peppers, topped with sliced spring onions for hints of freshness. This is a very spicy dish, made with a fiery sambal paste that will leave chilli lovers more than content. Although it lacks the same complexity of flavour as the lamb, it is pleasing in its simplicity and more than satisfying with a side of jasmine rice.
For dessert, we are tempted by the Apple Gyoza with Vanilla Ice Cream, three crispy, fried dumplings sprinkled lightly with icing sugar. Each parcel is filled with a delicious chopped apple centre, which resembles a fresh compote. At once sweet and tart, the cold, creamy ice cream cuts through, creating a delicious end to our experience at the Chi Kitchen.
Despite all the fried elements that make up our meal, we are left pleasantly surprised at not feeling overly full or lethargic. Chi Kitchen provides delicious, high quality dishes, which are carefully balanced, texturally complex and, above all, very light. The meat is halal and the dishes free of MSG, ensuring that the menu is healthy and honest.
This new addition to one of London’s busiest shopping destinations is bound to continue attracting the patron’s attention, for all the right reasons. With a relaxed and serene setting, a warm reception from the restaurant staff and the high-quality food on offer, this new restaurant will leave you feeling full of positive energy.
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To book a table at Chi Kitchen, 334-348 Oxford Street W1C 1JG London, call 0121 796 5888 or visit here.