The most important meal of the day, as they say. Although when it’s a weekend, it’s usually towards the latter end of the morning for me. Because lie ins. Sweet, lovely lie ins. So the quite friendly hour of 10.30am was a great Sunday start for me, when I met up with Erica last weekend to head down to the lovely Chi Kitchen for their Breakfast Club with Executive Consultant Chef Ping Coombes. She’s a MasterChef winner, ya know.
I’d already experienced an evening dinner at Chi Kitchen, sampling loads of their Pan-Asian menu delights. But Breakfast Club? That’s something a bit different.
Ping has been hosting her Breakfast Club events on a monthly basis since October last year at the Oxford Street branch, tucked neatly into the back of Debenhams. As well as the chance to try out some delicious dishes from the mind of the lady herself, it’s also about people. During a quick introduction, Breakfast Clubbers were encouraged to get to know their table-mates and chat about the food. Because if food isn’t a great way of bonding, I don’t know what is…
But first, coffee. And believe me, Malaysian coffee might be my new favourite. Made with condensed milk, it was ridiculously smooth, quite sweet, but still with a strong hit. Served in the cutest cups, I could probably drink this all day…if it wouldn’t have me bouncing off the walls after three cups, at any rate.
The first dish in the set menu was Kari Puffs, a spicy potato filling in puff pastry – one of Ping’s favourite childhood snacks. And I totally get why – they were delicious. The spice wasn’t overpowering but plenty flavoursome, and the puff pastry was the perfect texture. We did say the one thing perhaps lacking was not providing a dipping sauce, but despite this, they were so good, we ended up asking for more…and, uh, then some more…
The Mee Rebus dish offers yellow noodles served with gravy (not Bisto) made from sweet potato and pumpkin. Throw some prawn, tofu, egg, salad and prawn crackers into the mix, and you’ve got something that’s definitely not your average brunch dish. But it was a very, very good one. Ping advised us to mix the ingredients around in the bowl, resulting in a different flavour combination with every mouthful. The gravy was both sweet and spicy, and I even enjoyed the tofu (I’m not normally a fan!).
As a dessert, perhaps one of the more unusual dishes I’ve tasted, the popular Nyonya dish Bubur Cha Cha. It’s a coconut based sweet soup, with sweet potatoes, sago and taro. And served with ice in it, to keep it extra cool. I found the potatoes in the soup weren’t quite to my taste, but I enjoyed the coconut soup and taro. Perhaps not something I’d usually choose, but trying new things is always a fun foodie adventure…
Finally, we were served up a Carrot, Ginger and Orange shot to kick our digestion into action. And it was actually SO NICE. Super refreshing, and tasting more of orange than anything else – although the ginger definitely gave it an extra little kick.
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I had such an awesome time chatting away at Ping’s Breakfast Club, and really enjoyed the food. There are plenty of places to grab brekkie or brunch in the city, but a lot less opportunities to meet people and enjoy good food in a sociable atmosphere. The set meal is £20, which is great value for a three course, and the team aren’t shy about keeping you topped up with the unlimited tea and coffee. Oh, and for an extra fiver, you can get a glass of prosecco on the go too. So if you’re after tasty Asian food for an unusual breakfast with a sociable twist – this is one for you!
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Ground Floor Debenhams, 334-348 Oxford Street, London W1C 1JG
0203 841 6888
*We were guests at Chi Kitchen for a complimentary meal – thoughts honest, as usual