Last week I was invited along to a rather exciting event at the brand new Chi Kitchen restaurant in Birmingham. This brand new pan-Asian restaurant is tucked away in the Debenhams department store in the Bullring, just at the walkway over to New Street Station and Grand Central.
I had walked past it a few times over a Christmas but this was the first time I got to go inside. And I was so pleased I had that chance. The restaurant is a beautifully designed space, big on comfort and style and with loads of thoughtful touches. I was particularly excited to see they have installed plug sockets and USB outlets for each table. It’s a digital nomads dream!
We were there to sample the special Chinese New Year menu which is available this week, along with some of their standard menu dishes which are anything but standard!
To make this experience even more of a treat we were hosted by the one and only Ping Coombes, Masterchef champion of 2014. Ping spent the the day with us giving us a special masterclass.
First we were treated to a few appetisers and a special mandarin cocktail. Mandarins are particularly important for the Chinese at New Year as they are lucky and signify wealth.
We then popped over to the Birmingham food market outside Debenhams where Ping talked us through some of the Asian fruits and vegetables that are available to pick up there. It’s a fantastic market for fresh food and a great example of the fresh ingredients used at Chi Kitchen.
Back at the restaurant we were taught how to make golden money bags before watching as Ping talked us through the making of the traditional Chinese dish for New Year, Lo Sang, which involved several fresh ingredients arranged beautifully in a wide bowl and then the whole table uses chopsticks to toss the salad together, flicking it as high as possible for good luck.
To celebrate our hard work of the day we were treated to some delicious samples of the food from Chi Kitchen, all were fabulous! You could really taste how fresh the ingredients were and it was reassuring to know they don’t use any MSG whatsoever.
Our particular favourite was the Udang Harimau, a creamy prawn dish that was pretty darn immense. We enjoyed it so much that Raj managed to convince the chef to let him come into the kitchen and show him how it’s made!
All in all we had a wonderful time at Chi Kitchen learning about their new ethos of fresh ingredients celebrating our favourite dishes from across Asia. We will most certainly be back again and I’m already recommending it to all of our friends.