Chi

Best Part: The Spring Rolls

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TO BE A SIXTH FORMER…

Before I start our review, I need to get something off my chest. When I was a sixth former, allowed to leave the school premises at lunchtime this would be a once a week trip to Garston McDonalds for a milk shake or the newsagents in Abbots Langley for a bag of crisps. What I do not remember is hoards of us hitting the local restaurants for their lunchtime deals. We were not poor, if anything Parmiterians were on the affluent side but nothing it would seem compared to the clientele of the Abbey boys school who frequently lunch like kings! Whenever Mr Midweek lunch and I visit an eatery on the south side of the city centre, 1 o clock heralds the entry of many sixth formers. I simply don’t understand it and what’s more I disapprove. These teenagers seem to have more money than we do. Do their parents know what they’re up to? I’ll come clean, I’m jealous!

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THE VIBE

Being rather unobservant I have only recently noticed stalwart Chi on Holywell Hill. This coincided with the realisation that we hadn’t yet reviewed a Chinese lunch time meal deal so in we went. The front of Chi is very large and black, perhaps this combined with the shadow cast on Holywell hill at this time of day explains why it had faded into the background until now. The restaurateur initially seemed a bit grumpy when we entered but he got on with his job efficiently enough. We got the impression that Chi wasn’t best suited to lunch.

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The inside of the restaurant is quite dark yet tasteful. It reminded me of the PIER shop; full of tasteful ethnic dark wood furniture and blue and white crockery. It was cosy and pleasant. It was also very empty. We ate our starters in peace. Then we heard the clock tower strike 1 and in they started to come – those rich sixth form boys. They were obviously regular clients because they were so familiar with the menu they could order before seeing it.  Excitement – this time there was a table of girls too! They didn’t seem remotely interested in the boys and the vice versa. Let’s hope they were talking about their history coursework or something. I don’t know, I wasn’t paying attention to them at all. I was talking to my husband about this review.

 

THE FOOD

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The spring rolls and accompanying chilli sauce were light, crisp and promptly delivered. Mr Midweek lunch’s soup was excellently gloopy, almost a soup/jelly hybrid. The chicken came in nice big chunks and the whole thing was delightfully warming on a chilly spring day.

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I was excited about getting Granny’s “Ma Po” Tofu because I no longer it at home due to it ending up wet and flabby. Unfortunately readers, it was wet and flabby here too. It was served in what I can only call gravy. The rice was quite nice though.

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My husband had the Char Siu Pork and was very impressed. It was salty and sticky, and served with great piles of very nice fried rice. The sauce was great too, and he felt down with the kids when he observed that most of the younger patrons had ordered the same dish. The beer was refreshing, and it’s always pleasurable to say ‘Tsing Tao’. It just rolls off the tongue somehow.

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TO CONCLUDE

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I think Chi would be a fun place to come for dinner when it no doubt it is lively and full of lovely smells and happy diners. I wasn’t very impressed with my main course but the service was prompt, I liked the decor, my husband’s company and observing the clientele. The set menu, at £7.95 for two pretty substantial courses plus prawn crackers, was quite the steal as well. Therefore can I report and overall positive dining experience. Even if I didn’t, I know they would be kept in business by local school children. (I wonder how much pocket money they get?)

7.2/10

http://chi-uk.com/

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