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Making up for lost time during the sister’s 2.5 month stint in Europe, Mon and I have had quite a few dinner dates since her return. Whilst tossing up between some old favourites for dinner one evening, we decided to go in a different direction and try something completely new, opting for some Thai cuisine at Chi Kitchen.
The interior of Chi Kitchen was quite spacious and seemed even more so due to the number of available tables. Its grey tones were dressed up by the presence of eye-catching chandeliers and bold, black decorations that contrasted greatly with the neutral greys.
Sumo chicken dim sim (steamed) - served with Teriyaki sauce.
It had been a while, perhaps too long, since my last dim sim and the familiar taste was welcomed by my taste buds. The skin was very tender, soft and much thinner than the usual dim sims, and the chicken filling was much more textured than the typical mish mash of meats.
Peking chicken New york-style steamed buns - with hoisin mayo and cucumber.
Steamed buns seem to have taken off as the latest rage in New York and while my encounters have been quite limited so far, Chi Kitchen’s version may be very well be up there with the greats. The flavours and textures of this particular version seemed to portray elements from three different dishes/foods: the bao (bun), peking duck pancakes and barbecue pork. It was essentially a flattened bao crossed with a fatter version of a peking duck pancake. The creamy mayo mixed with hoisin sauce worked wonders with the barbecue pork-like flavour of the chicken and the not-too-sweet bao.
Pad thai - chicken, shrimp, egg, onion and bean shoots, with Thai rice stick noodles in a sweet tomato sauce.
After two delightful entree dishes (with the peking chicken steamed bun stealing the show), the mains seemed to pale in comparison. The pad thai was quite standard and will hit the spot good if you happen to be craving pad thai.
Thai-style veggies (garlic, basil, chilli) - with seafood and served with noodles.
Wow, did this dish pack quite a bit of a flavour punch but for the wrong reasons. The noodles sat drenched in a broth-like sauce that doused the noodles and veggies with a strong salty and garlicky flavour. Given the amount of ‘broth’ that was present, Mon thought it was a soup-based dish and one spoonful had her pulling a face and reaching for a glass of water. Adding to the saltiness was the potent fishiness of the fish and the other seafood items to a lesser extent. Alternating fork-fulls of both mains, the pad thai would taste bland in comparison to the veggie noodles; that’s how salty/fishy it was! Given the bloating that ensued after drinking glasses of water to drown out the saltiness, this was one dish that could not be finished.
Despite the less-than-tasty veggie+seafood main dish, the remainder of the dishes in combination with the fantastic customer service culminated in an enjoyable dinner. If not for anything else (their tasty selection of desserts for example), the peking chicken steamed bun alone calls for a re-visit! And it comes in two other ‘flavours’…
441 Little Bourke St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9036 0049