It’s a well known fact among my friends that I am an absolute sucker for a decent afternoon tea. I’m even more of a sucker for the alternative ones that keep popping up. So when Chi Kitchen invited me down to try out their Pan Asian afternoon tea offering I couldn’t say no!
We started our afternoon with ice cold Prosecco, perfect given we were sat by huge windows overlooking Birmingham New Street. Whilst I know others who’ve praised this fact, sadly for us we got very toasty and no matter what I could do the light in my photos was very annoying! Food blogger woes! The staff were attentive though and saw we were struggling so brought over a jug of water. The restaurant was pretty busy being a Saturday afternoon so it was impossible to move at this point.
The Pan Asian afternoon tea then arrived, three tiers of interesting nibbles. No scones here, but dim sum instead. There was a prawn dumpling, prawn and chive dumpling, chicken and mushroom wonton and a prawn siu mai dumpling. These were very more-ish and the greedy guts inside of me saddened that we didn’t get more. Although the presentation was a bit lack lustre, they looked a bit lonely in the steamer for me.
We moved onto our second tier which was more impressive looking. Sadly my booking saying no cucumber hadn’t reached the restaurant. Cucumber sat upon my satay chicken, luckily that’s all there was (after a quick look and Mr W taste testing!) The satay was aromatic, peanuty and rich. I could’ve had more. But I always say that over afternoon tea nibbles!
The Malaysian curry puff was spicy and warming but not over whelming. The pastry was perfect – no soggy bottoms here! Because of a hiccup we got popcorn shrimp instead of a chicken bun, but I didn’t mind. There are 3 out of 4 things on the menu of this tier that had chicken in, so having shrimp instead was quite nice.
Lastly there were veggie spring rolls as well which were crispy and light. I just feel like we could’ve had more than soy sauce for dipping. Something spicy or sweet could’ve been fun here.
We finished on dessert, an interesting array of Asian inspired classics here. I enjoyed the banana muffin, it would’ve been perfect with tea (although we opted for more water given how warm we were). It was gooey and moreish. The Pandan panna cotta was wonderfully refreshing and perfect for the sunny day, although in the heat it had melted a bit…
However, I wasn’t as taken with the coconut pancake roll and neither was Mr W. We found them a bit soggy and it was quite off putting. The stand out here for sure was that Green Tea cheesecake. I am not a fan of drinking the stuff but it turns out in cake form it’s wonderful. The dark chocolate strips served with it were the perfect accompaniment and it looked pretty.
Overall Chi Kitchen offered an interesting alternative to afternoon tea. I’m not sure I would return for it though, a few things didn’t work for me and Mr W. However, it’s worth it as a novelty treat for an Asian food loving friend. It’s fairly priced afternoon tea. Just £16.95 if you don’t opt to drink alcohol (£19.95 with fizz). However, Chi Kitchen watching your diners around us eat wonderful looking lunches and your tempting first tier of dim sum… We’ll more than likely be back to try out that main menu that’s for sure!
Have you been to Chi Kitchen? Are you a fan of an alternative afternoon tea? Let me know in the comments,
P.S. Thanks to Chi Kitchen for inviting me down to try out the afternoon tea. As ever all words, opinions and photos are my own.
P.P.S. Chi Kitchen is located at Debenhams, Upper Mall West, Bullring, Birmingham B5 4BL.