Afternoon Tea with an Asian Twist at Chi Kitchen

Afternoon Tea is a British tea-ritual made famous by Queen Victoria and believed to have started in early 1840s. Back in the day it was a private and social affair for women who were climbing ranks in society.  But was later introduced as a social affair to included everyone who was anyone to curb the hunger. The idea was to curb the hunger between lunch and dinner and consisted mostly of nicely cut sandwiches.

A couple of years back I had the opportunity to attend the B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour event in London. It was a blogger affair with afternoon tea in the midst, this was your typical afternoon tea served with scones. The next time I had afternoon tea was with my sister in Oxford and it cost me a pretty penny. Prior to this, the only type of afternoon tea I had had was one my mother took us on. Though back home in Zambia it wasn’t considered afternoon tea just a catch up with friends over tea.

Chi Kitchen

Chi Kitchen

When Chi Kitchen reached out to us to review their afternoon tea menu I was over the moon. My sister is a sucker for afternoon tea and wanted me to take her on one for her birthday. Unfortunately my time and budget wasn’t allowing for it, so the invite came at the right time. What made the invite even more exciting is a prospect of an Asian twist to the afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea with an Asian Twist at Chi Kitchen

Chi Kitchen is a contemporary Pan-Asian restaurant with a South East Asian influence. The restaurant can be found in two locations London (inside Debenhams in Oxford Circus) and Birmingham. Chi is a Chinese word meaning energy and I think the word choice is very fitting of this restaurant. The ambiance and feel of the London restaurant was incredible and just felt right to enjoy our afternoon tea. We loved it so much we decided to stay and sample the main menu as well.

Regular readers would have seen and read my sister’s thoughts about afternoon tea at Chi Kitchen. Hence why I will not be repeating what she’s already shared, I will be giving a highlight of the menu.

Chi Kitchen London 

The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Debenhams department store tucked right in the corner. From the outside  (inside Debenhams) it doesn’t look spacious but it is really spacious and open styled it is. To show just how spacious it is, it can hold up to 68 persons at anyone time.

Upon entering the restaurant you will be met by the open kitchen on the right and a mini champagne bar on the left. Walking in a little further you will see all the tables with a simple but elegant design. The feel and atmosphere of the place is calm and relaxed but with a buzzing energy from the guests.

Entering the restaurant we were welcomed by the staff who were all friendly and expecting us. Everyone was all smiles which was nice and relaxing, our table was by the other entrance but with an excellent view. From our seat we could see everyone in the restaurant including the chefs preparing our meals.

Chi Kitchen

The Service

From the moment we sat down to the moment we left, we had friendly and attentive staff. This was not only offered to us but to we observed how the rest of the guests were treated. It was nothing short of amazing, everyone was catered to and menus were explained to those of us who were unclear. It was because of this awesome service we decided to stay and sample the overall menu and pay for it ourselves.

Upon being allocated and shown to your table, the staff will provide the menu and offer water for the table. After they notice you’re settled the staff would then come and take a drinks order. Unless it’s the afternoon tea menu then they would give you a couple of minutes before taking your order.

Chi Kitchen
Chi Kitchen

The Food 

When you review the afternoon menu your eyes will deceive you and think it won’t be filling. Remember the idea of an afternoon tea is not to eat like it’s lunch but something to satisfy until dinner. We were uttering shocked when we found ourselves practically full after polishing the three-tier tray of deliciousness.

Chi Kitchen

The three-tier tray contained: sweet cakes on top, sushi and dumpling in the middle and sour cakes at the bottom.

Top Tier {Desserts ~ caramel cheesecake, cassava and Pandan kaya bun}: It was my first time tasting a cassava cake and a Pandan Kaya Bun both which were amazing. The paste in the Panda Kaya Bun was green and heavenly.

Chi KitchenChi Kitchen

Middle Tier {Salmon Nigiri and prawn dumpling served with soy sauce.}: I am a sucker for sushi and always looking to try new versions. The Salmon Nigiri certainly hit the spot as did the prawn dumpling.

Bottom Tier {Spring roll, Taro cake, Curry puff}: The Taro cake and Curry puff were something new to my taste buds and was amazing. Spring rolls are ones I am familiar with and have had to many in my life time.

Chi Kitchen

All the food was cooked to perfection, very tender with so much flavour and truly fresh. I would expect nothing less from the 2014 Master Chef Winner Ping Coombes the Chi Kitchen executive chef.

The Price 

As someone whose sampled a couple of afternoon tea menus I would say £12.50 is more than reasonable price. The price is per person and offers you the three-tier tray and a choice of teas. If you fancied a more indulging afternoon then you can have prosecco instead for £15. We chose to stick with the teas and I chose Pulled Malaysian tea whilst little sister chose her mint tea.

Chi Kitchen

Overall 

Chi kitchen London offered us and other guest an unparalleled service, with great food and even more lovely staff. The ambience of the place is relaxing, a perfect place to have your girl’s catch up or even alone time. I think it’s the best place to come and unwind whilst enjoying good food at the best price. Whilst the afternoon tea is only offered between 3pm – 6pm, you’re not restricted to that menu only. You can order from the usual menu even during the afternoon tea times.

Would I recommend Chi Kitchen to my readers? 

A huge and resounding YES!!! With such great service and delicious foods it shouldn’t be missed. I highly recommend this pan-Asian restaurant.

Disclosure: We were invited to sample and review the afternoon tea menu at Chi Kitchen London. Regardless all opinions shared are honest and 100% our own and there was no monetary exchange. We enjoyed ourselves so much we ordered off menu and paid our own bill and we will definitely be back. 

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  • Our Family World

    This looks like a great restaurant to dine in and have some delicious afternoon tea. The Pandan bun looks good, and so does the Salmon Nigiri and prawn dumplings. I agree with you that for all these tasty food and tea, the price is definitely reasonable enough.

  • polarbelle

    It sounds wonderful. Here in the states, I’ve found that the higher end department stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus have amazing menus as well.

  • This place looks so cool! I would love to try tea and desserts here since they look amazing.

  • Shannon Graham

    This food looks so fresh! That is most important for me when going to a restaurant.

  • Adriana

    This place sounds amazing! I love afternoon tea – it reminds me so much of Europe, which is my favorite place! The food all looks so tasty!

  • Jaime Nicole

    Afternoon tea is so much fun! My favorite place is in Niagara on the Lake Canada, but this looks good too. Must admit – never heard of sushi with tea but I like the idea!

  • Our eighteen year old daughter LOVES sushi. She eats at least three times a week. I have tried a few different kinds with her, but it is far from a favorite for me. Your photos look beautiful, I do love how colorful the food is.

  • Mint tea is one of my fave beverages of all time. I love this restaurant. The ambiance and food look so great!

  • Sandy & Vyjay

    Afternoon tea is one of the best British institutions. We enjoyed afternoon tea as kids when Mom used to rustle up Indian savouries with cups of ginger tea,

    • Awww that sounds really lovely, we used to enjoy similar as a kid

  • Jamie P.

    I am not a big tea drinker but I love sushi! The restaurant really looks like it would be a fun environment. I would love to take my daughter sometime.

    • Its a calm, relaxing and enjoyable environment for all age ranges

  • Melanie Smith

    I have never try to combine tea with sushi before this, but I love tea and and I love sushi so those together have to be pretty good!!

    • Same, the combination was not what you would normally expect from a traditional afternoon tea but nothing about this was traditional

  • Sarah

    Oh wow, what a fantastic experience to have a traditional afternoon tea. Everything looks so amazing too!

  • Pam

    This looks like such a fun take on a traditional afternoon tea. The food sounds really unique and I love the presentation.

    • I know right, it’s epic and unique for sure.

  • Evelyn Reese

    What a great event afternoon tea time. I have not had this opportunity, but I am a tea lover. The desserts in your pictures are awesome and some of my favorites. Great post!

    • Same, I am a sucker for good tea and often try different ones whenever I can

  • Jen At Dapperhouse

    How fun to have a tea time menu. Sushi is my favorite and I love the presentation on the tiered plates. I would order the mint tea as well.

    • I too love sushi big time and can not get enough of it. I adored the presentation on the tiered plates too

  • Kate Veggie Desserts

    What a great event! I love the look of that pandan bun. So many great afternoon tea treats!

    • I love the colour of the Pandan Kaya Bun and the taste was out of this world delicious

  • Now that is such a different afternoon tea, I have never seen anything quite like it before, but I would love to give it a try. I love the fact the restaurant was so nice as well, atmosphere and friendly staff can make a place.

    • Absolutely, the staff really went above and beyond and we were grateful for that

  • What a super fun event! I’ve never been to an actual tea party and now I want to put attending one on my bucket list! This place looks phenomenal and the food looks delish!

    • It was lovely place to visit and enjoy some lovely Asian foods

  • I’m a sucker for a tea party. I would love to experience a tea in London that would be epic for me. I like the asian twist, it looks cool.

    • The Asian twist definitely put this Afternoon tea on the next level up

  • Jeanette

    There are so many places in this world that I want to travel and this is one of those places. I have never been to London and I have always wanted to go. I would love to check out a restaurant like this because that food looks outstanding and I love the looks of the atmosphere.

    • Tell me about it, I was in awe of every food I saw in this restaurant

  • Alli Smith

    What a lovely afternoon tea! I love the Asian twist. I’ve had afternoon tea here in the states but I dream of having afternoon tea in London. It’s on my must-do bucket list.

    • I wonder what the Afternoon Tea set up is like in the states