I don’t know many people who don’t like some kind of reality TV, but I’m going to be controversial here. I really don’t watch much TV, but one TV show I watch religiously is Masterchef (and Game of Thrones but that’s a whole other story). So, naturally, when I heard about Chi Kitchen, I was really excited.
Masterchef 2014 winner Ping Combes is the genius Exec Chef behind Chi Kitchen. Did you know Chi means Energy in Chinese and the “火” symbol means Fire.. that’s deep! And I just love that – what’s in a name I hear Shakespeare say? I love that their name not only represents their ethos but also gives you a taste of what you can expect when you visit.
Chi Kitchen is located on the ground floor in Debenhams in Oxford Circus, an unlikely location for a fully halal restaurant or is it?!
Yep, you heard right-everything on the menu at Chi Kitchen is halal. This makes deciding what to choose out of the menu even more difficult! It was a good menu but we struggled to choose. What do you get when you want it all!
So we got mocktails to begin with while we perused the menu..
For starters, we got the Fried Starter Platter – Popcorn shrimp, smoked chicken, 2 chicken satay and 2 prawn spring rolls.
With so many other starter options to choose from, this platter was perfect. My favourite was the smoked chicken, it was delicious, the smoked flavour was enough but not overbearing – just right.
For mains I got the Crispy Shredded Beef, and my friend got the Grilled Lamb Chops
The “large” plate wasn’t actually that large but the crispy beef was crispy for sure. The shredded beef was great in taste, but it was a little crispier than I thought it would have been crispy but not hard to chew. Described as “tender pieces of sirloin” on the menu but they weren’t so tender, if it has been a little less crispy it would certainly have had my vote in the taste department, but for £16 for a mains the portion felt a little small.
My friend went for the Grilled Lamb Chops..
It was a little hard to taste anything but the overpowering taste of soya sauce in this dish, it was so overly salty that it was almost inedible. The jasmine rice came to the rescue here for sure. It was a shame because the lamb itself was actually really tender and would have been a great dish were it not for the overbearing salty flavour.
Following the not so great experience of the mains all I could think of was what I was having for dessert! It was the first thing I saw on the menu and knew then that’s what I wanted – the chocolate sphere! Whilst we were having our mains, the table of 6 people next to us all ordered the chocolate sphere and I could see the excitement in their eyes whilst Snapchatting it and I thought that would be be in a few minutes.
I was wrong – when I ordered it, I was told that they had run out of it! RUN OUT??? Why would you do this to me? So, under duress, I went for the Mango Creme Brûlée and my friend went for the Cheesecake.
The mango creme brûlée was in a word – disappointing. It tasted a little more like yogurt with a hint of mango. Lets just say I never leave my dessert but I was not a happy bunny at all and couldn’t really eat much of this at all.
The cheesecake on the other hand was much better – even though the texture was a little less cheesecake and a little more mousse (which my friend was not happy about as she makes a killer cheesecake!) but the taste was creamy and light – and definitely the better of the 2 desserts.
Overall, I was left a little confused with the food at Chi Kitchen. The decor, starters and mocktails were amazing, the mains were okay but the dessert was just disappointing. The dishes seem reasonably priced but you get what you pay for in this case.
Food – 6 out of 10
Service – 4 out of 10
Price -6 out of 10
Atmosphere – 5 out of 10
Experience – 6 out of 10
Overall, giving Chi Kitchen a total TLH score of 6 out of 10.
Address: Debenhams, 334-348 Oxford Street, London, W1C 1JG
Halal Status: Everything is halal.
Closest Station: Oxford Circus (Central and Bakerloo Line)