Chi Kitchen (Pan-Asian) – Oxford St, London

Debenhams Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Debenhams Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.We had the pleasure of visiting Chi Kitchen in late 2016 where we left impressed enough to rate it 4/5 ROARS.

If you don’t already know, then the restaurant’s pan-Asian menu was created by 2014’s MasterChef winner, Ping Coombes.

What makes Chi Kitchen so unique is that it’s located on the ground floor of Debenhams’ flagship Oxford Street branch in Central London, with the main entrance on Henrietta Place and an indoor entrance via the department store.

The 68 cover eatery has introduced a number of new menu items too, including an intriguing Tea Mocktail Collection that we were looking forward to trying.

But, as with all revisits, and unlike our previous review where Mango Tree was adjudged to have dropped half a mark, would Chi Kicthen manage to maintain, or even surpass, its initial review rating?

TEA MOCKTAIL COLLECTION

tea mocktail drink Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Tea Mocktail Collection £5.85 each (left-right): Ginger Kiss – Lemon and ginger tea, fresh lemon juice, suger syrup, lychee juice; My Passion – Earl gray tea, fresh lime, fresh passion fruit, suger-syrup, passion juice; Rouge Berries – Super fruit tea with fresh berries.

Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street drinkThis collection was a new addition to the menu, and comprised of a trio of hot and cold fruit-flavoured teas.

With its soothingly warm fruitiness, this Rouge Berries is the perfect drink following a good, hearty meal. We enjoyed the way in which the berry mixture gave way to the familiar taste of the fresh strawberry slices floating therein.

The layer of flavours in this tea not only meant that the Ginger Kiss acted as a palette cleanser of sorts, with its light citrusiness, but had with the lychee fruit, made this a great little drink.

As for the My Passion, then despite the garnish of passionfruit, the strongest taste to materialise was the lime, making this a sour one, with an annoyingly thin straw.

MOCKTAILS

drink mocktail Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Frozen Fire £2.95, Chi Kitchen Paradise £5.85, Director Special £5.85

Described by one Lion as “tasting very much like icy cream soda pop”, the dominant flavour in this Frozen Fire concoction was the rose syrup resting at the bottom, with the addition of the flavourless fizzy water necessitating a good stir before giving this average drink a go.

Granted it looked the part with its fiery colours, but the Chi Kitchen Paradise, in spite of its claim to being a mango raspberry mixture, only managed to deliver a weak orange taste. Hugely disappointing.

The Director Special was easily the pick of the trio, with its strong lychee flavour nicely offset by the grenadine in the background.

COMPLIMENTARY

Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Baby Squid Crisps

Lovely little morsals of battered Baby Squid Crisps that had a touch of heat to them courtesy of the slices of chilli. Accompanied with a sweet sauce.

SUSHI ROLLS

sushi Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Spider Soft-Shell Crab – Sushi rice with soft shell crab tempura, cucumber, oyster mushroom, avocado, asparagus and green tobiko, £10.50

The rice was warm, fresh, soft to the touch, and covered in an attractive lime green roe.

While the heat came through gently, this sushi roll was brought alive by the soya sauce, with the crispiness of the sweet tempura crab providing some wonderful textural contrast.

Not quite as good as the Dragon Prawn Tempura and the Chi Kitchen rolls had the first time round though.

DIMSUM

Wagyu Beef Siu Mai Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Wagyu Beef Siu Mai (3 pcs) £12.95

This Wagyu Beef Siu Mai left one Lion thoroughly impressed, and the others slightly underwhelmed.

With a soft-skinned outer layer, the succulent wagyu on the inside had a touch of tender chewiness to it that kept us masticating and savouring that deep beefy taste. An enjoyable dimsum.

SMALL PLATES

waterman duck salad Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Duck Watermelon Salad – Aromatic crispy duck with watermelon, cashew nuts and Thai herbs, £8.25

What a deliciously satisfying Duck Watermelon Salad this was!

This generous bowl comprised of an assortment of vibrant flavours and textures ranging from the sweet, watery cubes of melon marrying well against the deep, meaty, crispy-cum-soft pieces of shredded lightly salted duck, the sharp burst of the pomegranate seeds, the crunch of the cashew nuts, and the freshness of the salad leaves. A wonderful combo!

NOODLES & RICE

Hainanese Chicken Rice Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Hainanese Chicken Rice – served with rice & homemade chili sauce, £13.95

chicken Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.If you’re looking for clean flavours, then this plate of Hainanese Chicken Rice should be the dish for you.

The boiled chicken is utterly moist and succulent, and the rice perfectly cooked and fragrant.

However, it’s the vibrantly red, spicy chilli sauce, with its delicious piquancy which, when mixed through the rice, really brings the whole dish together.

A thoroughly enjoyable dish that was appreciated for its simplicity and execution.

Chi Kitchen Special Fried Rice Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Chi Kitchen Special Fried Rice – Stir-fried jasmine rice with mixed vegetables and eggs with £16.95

While the previous crab rice dish had at Mango Tree failed to impress, Chi Kitchen’s Special Fried Rice was far better, with actual discernible pieces of soft, fishy, meaty, shredded sweet crab to enjoy.

Having said that though, and despite the generous portion, this time, the simplicity of the dish was to its detriment. It was all just a little too subtle; and thus perfect for kids!

Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Nasi Lemak – Malay fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk, served with ‘ikan billis’ Malaysian dried anchovies, chicken, boiled egg and peanut. Topped with Ping’s homemade sambal sauce and served on Pandan leaf, £16.95

This attractively presented Nasi Lemak, a classic Malaysian national dish, comes into its own with all of the constituent parts had together as a whole.

With all textures essentially accounted for, what you’ll experience is the mellow, slightly pungent, sambal sauce seamlessly combining with the sweetly spiced coconut curry sauce with tender chunks of chicken therein.

Combine that with the crunchy slithers of dried salty masala anchovies, the fruity burst of the pomegranate seeds, and the earthiness of the hard boiled eggs, and this dish has you going right till the end.

CURRY

Chicken Katsu Curry rice Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Chicken Katsu Curry – Panko breaded chicken with Japanese curry and steamed jasmine rice, £13.95

What made this Chicken Katsu Curry such an enjoyable eat was the full-bodied gravy sauce, with its tiny diced pieces of carrot.

In terms of cooking, then the succulently tender chicken’s lightly spiced, panko-breaded exterior was perfectly golden and crispy on the outside, and rested atop an equally well cooked bed of steamed, fragrant jasmine rice.

And while the gravy curry was plentifully sufficient, we found that stirring some spiced sambal sauce (available upon request) through the rice, added some pleasant heat to the whole dish. Deliciously good!

SOUP NOODLES

Chi Kitchen Laksa Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Chi Kitchen Laksa – Singaporean noodle soup with shrimp and coconut broth, prawns, fish cake, clams, sambal sauce and chopped thick noodles, £13.95

What more could you ask for in a curry laksa than a super broth chokablok full of seafood treats.

The impressive thing about this Chi Kitchen Laksa was the balance achieved in the mildly spicy, buttery coconut sauce. Gorgeously infused with the fishy taste of the sea, it was just right, being neither too strong nor too insipid. Nevertheless, one has the option of cranking up the heat via the accompanying sambal sauce, which can be stirred through to taste.

With plenty of goodies therein too, including meaty morsals of prawns, a few clams, and some pieces of soft fish cake all swimming alongside tender thick noodles of chewy goodness, this laksa is guaranteed to keep your interest to the last slurp.

Vietnamese Pho (Beef) Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Vietnamese Pho (Beef) – A Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles with your choice of chicken or beef, £11.95

There aren’t too many places that offer a Halal pho. The last one we tried was at Vietnamese restaurant House of Ho in Fitzrovia.

Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.This one brought back some great memories. With al dente rice noodles, the broth is clean and subtle in flavour, even after the addition of the accompanying condiments of crunchy slices of onion, coriander, diced red chillis, and a squeeze of the lemon. As such, you may again require the sambal sauce (available upon request) to spruce things up a tad.

Be sure though not to let this rest for any longer than necessary, as the whole point of any pho is to enjoy it piping hot. And forget the etiquette of slurping to your heart’s content.

DESSERTS

Cendol dessert Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Cendol – Famous dessert from South-East Asia, combining coconut milk, pandan, palm sugar and crushed ice, £5.00

Cendol is always going to be a love me or hate me affair.

This particular version didn’t really do it for us. As one Lion put it: “Some icy thing with red beans and squidgy green tentacles.”

Sago Gula Melaka dessert Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Sago Gula Melaka – A typical Malaysian dessert. Sago Pudding with palm sugar, £5.25

A saturated ball of milky gelatinous goodness was this Sago Gula Melaka.

Granted it’s fairly basic in terms of the addition of coffee liquid syrup, which imparts a touch of sweetness, this dessert will be optimally enjoyed on a warm, summer’s day.

dessert Caramel Chessecake Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.

Caramel Cheesecake – Caramel based cake with soft cream cheese, £5.95

A cheese cake Chi Kitchen Halal Pan Asian London restaurant in Debenhams Oxford Street.Caramel Chessecake that wasn’t so much caramel as it was coffee flavoured.

Although the slightly bitter aftertaste wasn’t to everyone’s liking, we did find that the sharpness of the berry compot on the side worked to somewhat counter said bitterness.

Nonetheless, there was no denying the beautifully smooth texture of this dessert along with the crumbly texture of its biscuit base.

All in all, this was good without being anything special.

THE ROAR
Chi Kitchen
4 FTL's Roar
4.5 Pride's Roar (1 Roar)
Alcohol/ Pork?
  • YES/ NO
FSA HYGIENE RATING
Last Checked: 11/6/18
Facilities
  • CHILD SEATING
  • DELIVEROO
  • JINN
  • AMAZON
Summary
Our return to Chi Kitchen successfully managed to elicit the memories we enjoyed during our first review almost two years when it first opened.

While we recall the Duck & Watermelon Salad creating more of a lasting impression during the previous, the rest of the dishes had were new to us, with most of them certainly leaving us impressed.

Chi Kitchen remains one of the better Halal-friendly, pan-Asian restaurants in London. Serving quality food with impeccable service, this place retains its original rating of 4/5 ROARS.

Menu Recommendation

Drink - Rouge Berries

Starter - Wagyu Beef Siu Mai

Main - Chi Kitchen Laksa

Dessert - Caramel Cheesecake

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ATMOSPHERE
SERVICE
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chi kitchen logo
334-348 Oxford Street (main entrance via Henrietta Place), London, W1C 1JG

T: +44 (0)20 3841 6888 | W: www.chikitchen.co.uk/london | E: oxfordtreet@chikitchen.co.uk

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 09:30–22:00 | Sun 12:00–18:00

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