Arts & Entertainment

Chi Chi: pan-tastic Asian cuisine

Chi Chi at Grosvenor Place- Lucky Strikes Cocktail

Like Aladdin’s cave or King Solomon’s mines, it’s the hard- to-find places that yield the greatest treasure. Chi Chi is a newly opened restaurant fiendishly hidden under the sweeping staircase inside the lobby of the Grosvenor Place building, at the harbour end of Sydney’s CBD. It’s the latest offering from hospitality entrepreneur, George Nahas and represents a new vision in dining experiences. 

 

King Fish, black pepper, mandarin oil

 

Despite the clean-lined, corporate interior of the Harry Seidler designed building, Chi Chi’s open plan, low key decor is relaxed and welcoming. The semi-circle space is girded by a continuous lounge against the back wall with table and chairs at intervals along it, comfortably sitting two at each. In the area in front are larger tables for larger parties. Of course, the furniture can be rearranged to suit your party; the restaurant can accommodate up to 60 people. 

At the entrance, slightly apart from the dining area, is a bar/cafe. The kitchen is behind a door, leaving the dining area calm and quiet. It’s said to have been modelled on an airport lounge and that’s exactly what it feels like, except it’s much more relaxed. 

Bremmy Setiyoko (Head Chef), George Nahas (Owner of Chi Chi)

The chef at Chi Chi is Bremmy Setiyoko, who has helmed several kitchens in the Rockpool Pool. His dishes are informed by a fusion of Asian sensibilites and modern inspirations. 

On the night we attended we were served by the charming, amiable, and very Italian, Alfonso. He manages several other Nahas establishments. We entrusted Alfonso completely with the selections for our meal, and he did not disappoint. 

Having advised our preference for red wine, we were presented with a bottle of Angullong Fossil HIll Sangiovese, 2021. It had a mellow sweetness tempered with a mild astringency and it perfectly accompanied each dish. 

Crispy chicken, galangal, sand ginger

The first item was King Fish with black pepper and mandarin oil. It came out as a share plate, as did all our dishes – that’s the vibe they are going for. The king fish pieces were topped with grated radish and seaweed flecks. Soy sauce gave it a tang and mustard gave it a bit of bite. The king fish was a nice, light but tasty starter. 

The second of three “smalls” was Crispy Eggplant with fragrant soy and chilli, sprinkled with sliced shallots. It had a deliciously crispy skin and was fleshy inside. Lovely. 

Our third small plate was Chicken Satay skewers. The chicken was meltingly tender and the sauce had the right balance of peanut and spices. 

Deconstructed dessert: Vanilla ice-cream, sponge, dried strawberries, strawberry coulis

For our main – or “big” – Alfonso had decided upon the Crispy Chicken, galangal, sand ginger, topped with shredded salad greens. The chicken is first fried, then baked to achieve the perfect crispy skin. Served in slices in a delicious light sauce. Nice. 

With our main we had steamed greens and black rice which each contributed unique textures and tastes that harmonised well with the chicken. 

Dessert was a deconstruction: vanilla ice-cream, sponge, dried strawberries, strawberry coulis. The consummate blend of sweet and tangy, soft and crunchy. Utterly more-ish.  

Low key interior

To round off the meal we were each served a glass of plum liqueur which was very sweet but refreshing. 

There is no argument amount the quality of the food, the ambience, or the service. It’s all excellent. Chi Chi’s challenge will be to get discovered, because it doesn’t have a strong street presence, especially at night when the only entrance is via the security door. 

If you do feel like a special treat and something a little different, or maybe something to bring back memories of airport and travelling, give Chi Chi a try. 

Lower Ground Floor, Grosvenor Place, Shop 3/225 George Street, Sydney

For bookings visit: Now Book It

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