On Sunday, we arrived in Birmingham, parked close to our new base accommodation for the week and spent our last day of freedom exploring the city. We also went shopping and enjoyed delicious Pan Asian cuisine at Chi Kitchen, The Bullring.
It was a lovely day and Birmingham looked beautiful. As well as the stunning architecture there was also a lot of building and regeneration work going on. We even watched a huge multi storey car park being knocked down-wow! It will be interesting to see all the new changes during our next visit here- we may not recognise the place!
We headed to the Bullring. During our very first hospital stay in Birmingham in April 2003 (when Danny was born) this was still being built. It was completed in September 2003 just after our second stay. When we came up for Danny's third operation in 2007 it was fully open and we went there a lot. We remember watching the news from the hospital that a teen "spiderman" had free climbed up the Selfridges Silver Discs to sit on the roof of the store, I'm not sure if they ever unmasked the climber (don't try this at home, folks!).
Danny was straight up on to the Bull statue for the token Bull Bullring Picture (a good job as of course he's not been allowed to climb since the op).
We made our way to Chi Kitchen, on the third floor in Debenhams.
We arrived at our destination and were seated next to the glass windows with a great city view. On the way to our seats we passed the welcoming Champagne Bar (nice!) and open kitchen.
We then ordered our drinks and were served the complimentary prawn crackers to eat while waiting. I don't eat prawn crackers but I could see they looked fresher and tastier than the ones the kids usually get at our local Chinese restaurant.
The menu is created by Masterchef winner Ping Coombes, who has embraced the chance to spread her knowledge by promoting Asian food around the UK and abroad. There was something for everyone to choose from.
Our food arrived. My Vegetarian Spring Rolls, were delicious- so fresh and tasty. We were informed that everything, including the sauces is freshly made in the Chi Kitchen. I stuck to using a knife and fork so I could eat my food more quickly- it was too delicious to eat slowly with chop sticks for me!
Danny chose the Crispy Shredded Beef, tender pieces of sirloin beef shredded and stir fried in sweet chilli sauce. He said it was delicious. Unfortunately pre op nerves had started to settle in so he didn't eat as much as he usually would.
Rebecca chose the Ho Fun Noodles, Stir-fried noodles with chicken, Chinese chives, crushed peanuts, bean curd and bean sprouts in a special home-made tamarind sauce. It was a colourful very well presented dish. Rebecca enjoyed it but it was a large sized portion for her so she could have done with sharing really (I couldn't share with the kids as they went for meat dishes).
Danny also ordered Egg Noodles as a side. These look like the most delicious noodles I've ever seen. This meal has definitely given me inspiration for improving my Asian cooking at home.
I went for Tofu Pad Thai, Thai rice noodles stir-fried with tofu, Chinese chives, crushed peanuts, bean curd and bean sprouts in a special homemade tamarind sauce. The tofu was cooked to perfection and I completely finished this dish.
Dave ordered Sambal Prawns (not pictured), Prawns with a Malaysian sambal chilli served with steamed jasmine rice. He says they were really lovely- hot and spicy!
Rebecca with David Bowie- can you spot him?
Our food was delicious, the staff were friendly, welcoming and helpful. As I mentioned earlier Danny couldn't eat much due to his hospital nerves and the staff immediately offered to box it up and gave it to him as a take out so he had it for tea back at the apartment. The restaurant looks great, the interior is inspired by the five elements of fire, water, wood, earth and metals. From where we sat, I didn't even feel like we were still inside a department store at all- it was quite strange having to walk through there again on our exit (but handy shopping wise).
Sadly, we were all too full for dessert (yes even the kids) so had to give this a miss but I hear their Chocolate Sphere is amazing and their Mixed Dessert Platter comes highly recommended too.
I would love to come here again and maybe take advantage of the Bottomless Prosecco offer. Chi in Chinese means energy. Chi Kitchen's aim, therefore is to build a brand that is going to offer not only great food, but also provide good energy to their customers.
After our meal of course we had to find the portrait of David Bowie that we had spotted. We found out it's by Anna Stus of Annatomix. It's a great street art homage to Bowie. You can keep up with her latest work on her facebook page.
It's not actually painted graffiti, instead the painting has been posted onto the wall. Either way it's a stunning tribute.
From my spot next to Bowie, I could see Chi Kitchen and the table we sat at by the round "Chi Kitchen" sign (just hidden behind the lamp post - who put that there?).
Thank you Chi Kitchen for your lovely food and welcome.