Chi Kitchen have a new Christmas Menu

Chi Kitchen has revealed a very special festive menu that has all the elements of your traditional Christmas choices, but delivers them with a Pan Asian twist. I was lucky enough to be invited along to my local branch which is situated in Debenhams in Birmingham’s Bullring, and have to say that this is a truly delicious experience.

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The Chi Kitchen menu is priced at £21.95 for three courses, and also comes with a complimentary (and delicious) mixed Berry Bellini. This was crisp and tasty, and the non-alcoholic version with an apple juice base was also very tasty.

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The starters comprise of a turkey option in the form of Turkey Spring Rolls, a fish option with deep fried Chilli Prawns, and a vegetarian option sweet potato chips with mixed berry mayonnaise.  The Turkey Spring rolls were an unusual flavour, the batter was beautifully crisp but I felt the Turkey needed some sort of seasoning to add to the flavour. In contrast, the Chilli Prawns were delicious, the prawns had been marinated in garlic but also had a sage flavour that made them taste very Christmassy. I loved these and would definitely order them again. The Sweet potato chips were also delicious, I have really grown to love sweet potato, and when the tempura style batter is added, you have a really tasty dish.

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There is a main dish to match each starter, a fish course, a Turkey dish and a vegetarian curry. The fish was Salmon, a fish I don’t usually like, but the Salmon Teriyaki, with its deep Soy flavouring was just beautiful. The Turkey was equally good, grilled and sliced in a Kalamansi source that gave it a deep, smoky taste. Surprisingly, my favourite dish was the vegetable Nyona Curry which was packed with green beans, broccoli and potatoes. This is a Malaysian curry sauce, one which actually reminded me of Katsu curry. It was a real street food style dish, nourishing and comforting, perfect for a cold Christmas day.

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The Christmas menu offers two choices of side dishes – salt and pepper chips and egg fried rice. I would suggest that if you sample this menu with a partner, order one of each and enjoy.

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No Christmas menu would be complete without dessert. As someone who hates Christmas pudding, yule logs and mince pies, I have to say I found the Chi Kitchen dessert far more appealing. The Apple Gyoza was full of soft, sweet apple cooked in a batter that was just like churros, served with clotted cream ice cream this was a real treat – my hubby is not a fan of dessert but totally loved this. The walnut and chocolate brownie was just so gooey and chewy, and again, that ice cream was a total winner.

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With wonderful, friendly service, delicious dishes, and a real twist on Christmas, I would well recommend you try out this menu before it ends on Boxing Day.

Chaophraya Birmingham Father’s Day Menu

Chaophraya Thai restaurant on Birmingham’s Spiceal Street is one of those eateries that I have always wanted to try, but have never quite got around too. But this changed last Thursday when I was invited to sample the Father’s Day menu, and get to make a traditional spring roll from scratch.

The Chaophraya restaurant is a stunning place, with a sleek, modern interior and a fabulous sun terrace which was perfect for what was an almost tropical night. The restaurant has two floors, one of which had been reserved for our table, and had cooking stations set up, initially for a cocktail making session where we were given instructions on how to make a strawberry mojito. This proved to be great fun, and the completed cocktail was indeed delicious and refreshing.

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The Father’s Day special menu is great value, with two courses priced at £14.95 per person. We were treated to samples of two of the starters, the Chicken Satay and the Chicken Tom-Kha. The satay was delicious, soft grilled chicken with a tasty peanut sauce. I love satay skewers and this was a great example – something I would definitely order. The Chicken Tom-Kha was a coconut based soup with lemongrass, chilli, lime leaves and straw mushrooms. I loved the creamy taste of the soup, especially as the lemongrass wasn’t overpowering. I hate mushrooms, so wouldn’t choose this, but the soup itself was delightful.

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

Chicken

Chicken Tom-Kha

The third starter option is the Spring Roll, and this was where things turned very interesting, as we got to make our own, with instructions from the Chaophraya chef. It is surprising just how much work, and how many ingredients go into the making of a spring roll, but I have to say that although not perfect, I was really pleased with my finished product, which, incidentally, was totally yummy.

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It was then back to our table to sample the main dishes. These were Panang Beef Curry, with the softest beef and just a slight kick of chilli, Massaman Lamb Curry – not for me as I’m not a fan of lamb, but the sauce was almost like a delicious gravy, and with potato and lamb in the mix this is the nearest you will get to a Thai Sunday roast. The Thai green curry is an absolute classic, and this was that perfect blend of cream and heat that Thai curries are famous for. The Tofu and Pineapple Curry is a great, interesting vegetarian option, great for sweet and sour fans, tangy and appetizing.

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My own personal favourite of the main courses was the sublime Thai red prawn curry. With meaty prawns that had been cooked to perfection, and a sauce that was not too sweet or creamy, this is a dish with just the right amount of bite, definitely one I would order again and again.

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The whole menu is well thought out and has dishes that work really well and definitely satisfy. A special menu must be given to the amazing Espresso Martini which was gloriously decadent. If you are still deciding where to take dad this Father’s Day, check out Chaophraya.

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Social Plates at Gas Street Social

DSCN8297[1]Gas Street Social has been a great addition to Birmingham’s thriving food and cocktail scene and I was very happy to be invited to try out one of its most successful innovations, the social sharing plates. So yesterday I made a trip to Birmingham’s Mailbox to try out a selection of the dishes on the social menu.

The social plates are a range of dishes that are meant to be shared – sort of like tapas, but on a larger scale. The idea is that you choose a selection of dishes to share amongst a group, these can be from a vegetable, meat of fish selection. This is a great idea for lunch or a snack while you are enjoying a cocktail or two. A sharing plate could also be chosen as a starter before a main meal.

If you haven’t been to Gas Street Social before, the first thing I need to tell you is that the place looks great. It is bright and spacious, with a modern industrial feel that starts with the concrete floor that almost has a factory shop-floor look. With an open kitchen and a mixture of tables and booths, Gas Street has a look that invites you to come in. Friendly and pleasant front of house and waiting staff add to the warm vibe the place just gives off.

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We were seated in a booth quite near to the kitchen and I started with a cocktail – my favourite Mojito. This compared well to the best of Mojitos – lots of flavour and plenty of mint. My husband Pete just had a coke has he was driving, but the addition of a carafe of water for the table was a nice touch too, especially as there was no need to ask for it first.

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Enjoying a mojito

Enjoying a mojito

Mojito

Mojito

We chose a selection of plates from the social plates menu. On Sunday’s these cost just £4 each which is a real bargain – 5 plates costing just £20, so two people can dine for £10 each! From the vegetarian selection we chose 3 dishes:- the Bruschetta, the Sweet Potato Cake and the Tempura Vegetables. From the meat we chose GSS Meatballs and a Social Scotch Egg, and from the fish menu we chose Mini Fish and Chips.

A selection of sharing plates

A selection of sharing plates

The Brushchetta was delicious, lovely thick bread topped with avocado and sun-dried tomatoes. There was also a quails egg which I removed but Pete said was runny and delicious. I’m a real fan of avocado, and loved the fact that the topping was plentiful – this is best eaten with a knife and fork as it could get messy.

The delicious Bruschetta

The delicious Bruschetta

The sweet potato cake was unusual, with a slight undertone of chilli on the first bite that was then balanced with natural yoghurt. I loved this plate, it was one of my favourites, and I would definitely choose this again.

Without doubt, our favourite plate was the tempura vegetables. I love tempura anyway, but adding curried spice tempura to cauliflower, broccoli and mange tout is just a masterstroke. The batter was just crispy enough and the curry was flavoursome. Combined with a paneer and minted yoghurt dip, this was a plate I could order over and over again and never get bored with.

Delicious Tempura Prawns

Delicious Tempura Veggies

The Scotch Egg was Pete’s choice – Eggs are one of my pet hates, but Pete adores them, and totally loved this. A large egg cut in two, the outside was crispy, with a lovely flavour of black pudding coming through. The addition of beer ketchup gave this the perfect accompaniment. The second meat dish was the GSS Meatballs. These were served with hearty foccacia that was definitely needed to mop up the hearty tomato sauce. The meatballs themselves were really tasty, succulent pork and beef with just the right amount of seasoning to avoid the blandness that I often find with meatballs.

Meatballs

Meatballs

Scotch Egg with Black Pudding

Scotch Egg with Black Pudding

Our final choice was the delicious fish and chips. With minted peas and tartare sauce, this was the traditional favourite done really well – crispy batter and thick cut chips that were fluffy and soft on the inside. This is a decent sized portion too – you could easily choose this one for yourself as a light bite lunch.

Fish and Chips Social Plate

Fish and Chips Social Plate

The social sharing plates at Gas Street Social are a great way to try new things that you might not order as a full sized meal, and to make your meal a real social occasion – sharing is such a social activity.

Gas Street Social can be found at 166-168 Wharfside Street, The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RL
TEL: 0121 643 0362