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I think it’s OK to admit that, when my children were little, taking them for big days out wasn’t my favourite thing to do. Even if there was another pair of hands to help the experience would be this huge production – from the huge hurdle that was getting everything you need packed into one bag (and the list of stuff you need for a young child is ENDLESS) to manoeuvring a buggy over rough terrain or up and down escalators… it always felt like it would be easier to stay at home.
But somewhere along the line it became easier. And then out of nowhere, it wasn’t just easier, it was fun.
I still haven’t quite lost the fear, though. I get a bit twitchy before heading out on big trips, usually because I just know I’m going to forget something essential. Like wet wipes, or Hux’s beloved Thunderbirds 2.
Last weekend was no different. I’d planned a lovely day out in London for the three of us, forgetting the wet wipes as I packed my bag (the BEST for days out like this is my Eastpak Frick, currently on sale for £35 and just as beautiful as its more expensive competitors ;). But I remembered the most important thing, the EAD (emergency Apple device), so all was not lost.
Our first stop was Oxford Street, somewhere I spend a lot of time solo, shopping in Selfridges and dining in Soho. It was lovely to wander around there with the children, and after a lovely stroll we headed to Chi Kitchen, a brand new pan-Asian restaurant that we’d been invited to try, just behind Debenhams’ flagship store.
Interestingly, in my old life as a Marketing Director I’d worked with the company behind Chi Kitchen as they were conceptualising the restaurant so I was really excited to see the final result. There was no children’s menu but as my two are fans of Wagamama and Yo! Sushi I knew we’d be happy with the offering.
We arrived with a wailing Hux – the rain had left us running 30 minutes late and the poor thing was starving – but the staff dealt with it admirably. We were speedily seated by the window in prime people-watching position and Mr H was placated with an apple juice.
Elfie got down to the serious business of reading the menu as I chatted to the staff and they convinced me to try my first Bubble Tea (lychee flavour!). It was lovely, and not just because of the surprise on the kids’ faces when they tasted the bubbles ;)
We ordered: a mixed hors d’oeuvres platter (SO GOOD) with calamari which was enjoyed by all, followed by salmon sashimi (E’s favourite), an absolutely stunning duck and watermelon salad that I could have eaten twenty times over (AND WILL), prawn dumplings with fish roe and tempura prawn sushi. Check out the dry ice: this entertained all of us for quite some time.
I’m not exaggerating when I say the food was truly awesome. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a small chain like Chi Kitchen but it seriously exceeded every expectation that I didn’t have. This was some of the best sushi I’ve ever tasted; in comparison Yo! Sushi aren’t even playing the same sport, let alone being in the same league. On a scale of Nobu to Wagamamas, you’re definitely in the Nobu ballpark here – it was simply lovely. Such a fantastic treat for when you’re shopping or working in the area, or enjoying a day out with your children.
It wasn’t just the taste and quality of the food that I enjoyed, either. The staff were so kind and attentive to us, so obviously invested in us having a wonderful time. They didn’t bat an eyelid at a little bit of additional noise from two rowdy children excited to get to the Science Museum, and were really happy to chat about their different menu options. In fact, it was our waiter who suggested we went for the chocolate bomb; one of those brilliant chocolate sphere puddings that’s melted with a hot sauce to reveal ice cream. We had two, Elfie went into a chocolate coma.
To compare, we had dinner at Wahaca that evening, usually one of my family favourites. It was nowhere near the standard we’d had at Chi, and even Elfie asked why we didn’t go back to that lovely sushi restaurant instead. Quite!
Huge thank-you’s for having us, Chi, we’ll definitely be back! And I’ll definitely be returning for the bottomless Prosecco at some point, too.
From Chi we moved on to the Science Museum, somewhere I’ve been (and loved) myself but never with the children. I wondered if they would be too young to appreciate it, but we had the BEST time. Granted, their favourite exhibit was the cross-section of the working toilet with added poo, but there was so much for us to watch, look at and interact with. 10/10 – would definitely go back.
After the aforementioned disappointing dinner experience at Wahaca (I emailed them, they dealt with it excellently) we hopped back on a slower-than-usual train home along with what felt like a million rowdy football fans. Not a problem for me as they were accompanied by a number of young and handsome Police Officers… is it only me who has a thing for Police Officers? Does anyone know a handsome Police Officer? Call me ;) Anyway, EADs deployed, our journey home was quick and we all went to bed that evening happy and smiling after a lovely family day out. It was one of those that left me hugging myself that my children aren’t just great children – but they’re pretty fun friends too. I can’t wait for our next adventure!