A certain someone often asks me if I would ever start up my own food venture. The man poses a valid question; I spend so much of my time consuming food and consumed in the food industry that it would seem logical to have a career in something I truly love. Sometimes, at my most cynical, I think it’s probably a luxury. But other times, like when I’m perched up at the bar in the newly opened Yuu Kitchen, I think, why the hell not?
There are a steady stream of diners coming through the front door, all greeted by enthusiastic staff and even more exuberant art work plastered across the walls. The manga-style characters are what we’d call an acquired taste, but we like the uniqueness of it. Looking around, I spot many tell-tale signs of satisfaction; lots of nodding and smiling, lots of chatter, lots of dishes flying out of the kitchen. I would be chuffed to call a restaurant like this, my own.
When I see the words ‘Pan Asian’ in reference to a restaurant menu, I’m torn between hanging my head in despair and rolling my eyes at their laziness. Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly self-righteous, I’ll do both. Anyone who’s ever laid eyes on a map will know that the continent of Asia is huge, so is it any surprise that it is also diverse in landscape, culture, and food styles. What makes a restaurant think it can pan across Asia, cherry pick a few famous dishes from each country, and do them justice?
That was strike one for Chi Kitchen and we hadn’t even set foot in the restaurant. The second strike came when I learnt the restaurant is housed in Debenhams; I found that slightly awkward as I don’t make a habit of dining where I buy my delicates, though they do have separate entrance. And the third strike? Well, there wasn’t one. Spoiler alert, it was good. Which was a bit of a disappointment to anti-pan-Asian-restaurant-rant Connie… but quite the relief to hungry Connie.