Chu Chi

Chu Chi

“Pan Asian Diner and Takeaway”–the subtitle on the menu doesn’t say it all.

I know this because I live next to a pan-asian diner and takeaway and it’s exactly as you’d expect: a place serving up a wide range of sweet, spicy and sour from Australia to Vietnam. The batters are light and crispy, the flesh tender and aromatic, the atmosphere is functional but friendly, the service adequate and prompt and of course the bill is reasonable.

What Chu Chi’s menu might more accurately read is “a small, licenced, pan-asian restaurant with a modern decor”. It lists wok, curries, steamer and noodles with choices like flash-fried peanut beef (£6.95), Vietnamese bass (£8.95) and your usual favourites green thai curry (£6.25), beef ho-fun (£6.75) and pad thai (£6.25). Lunchtime bento boxes are £9.50 which seems like good value given the venue’s trendy location.

I readily confess to not being an expert in the world of pan-asian, but I couldn’t help noticing that a trendy dim sum place and the “Thai Metro” are just a few doors up Charlotte Street. Clearly someone thinks this type of cooking is a sure-thing with the punters.

Well, I wont be back. Nothing wrong with the decor, the service or the menu, but my bento box was uninspiring. The “Nippon” advertises teriyaki beef and prawn tempura. What you get is a scrawny little prawn covered in chewy batter and a floppy slice of resistant cow flesh and seaweed placed in the two cavities of a plastic bento box (you could tell it was plastic as it had at some point in the past come a little too close to a heating lamp). The other cavities contained white rice and cabbage.

Of the whole box, the kanar (cabbage-like green leaf and soy beans) with soy sauce and chilli slices was by far the most satisfying.

Right, well I suppose I should go try the other two on the street for consistency’s sake.

Chu Chi
Pan Asian Diner and Takeaway
14 Charlotte Street
London W1
Tel: 0207 436 7460
Fax: 0207 436 7461

Lunch: “Nippon” bento box set price lunch and a cup of tea. Total bill inc. service charge £12.38