Belle: Chi Chi in Canley Heights is like the new kid on the block that everyone wants to know about and be friends with. Chi Chi stands out because it is definitely different in the Canley Vale scene. Chi Chi is an Asian Fusion with hints of Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Chinese and Laos influences. Their interior is something you would expect to find in the inner city suburbs of Sydney and not in Western Sydney. But we were more than excited to welcome this new addition to the West. According to Ando and B Chi Chi had a lot of similarities to Chin Chin in Melbourne.
The entry to Chi Chi is on Derby street located off Canley Vale Rd. I still remember parking right outside Chi Chi when they were still under construction and being very curious on what new store was going to be there. And when I found out it was Chi Chi I was even more eager to check this place out.
Standing outside the store, it was hard to guess the size and layout of the interior. But once you walk through the low height entry doors, you are welcomed with a neon sign that displayed “double rainbow all the way across the sky” and a very open plan dining space and high ceilings with exposed beams. Four hanging pink perforated metal iron sheets are used to subtly separate the dining space from the bar and kitchen.
The first thing you will notice when you walk inside is the large black and white mural of pandas on their feature wall. It was nice to sit facing the wall and look at all the cute pandas.
Opposite the feature wall is the main bar with the high tiled wall to cover the kitchen. After we left we saw in through the window that also behind the bar is a round table infront of the kitchen for a private dining experience.
The Herd and I went here on a Wednesday night and was rather surprised with the absence of diners. Chi Chi has only been open for a few weeks and hasn’t really picked up yet.
The menus are placed under each plate and I found this to be convenient because every one on the table gets their own menu and we didn’t need to keep asking for the menu throughout the night.
We started off with the betel leaf varieties that they had on off. The first on was the Smoked trout, galangal, roasted chilli & fried shallots betel leaf ($3.9 each) which is a nice balance of salt with hints of chilli and crunch from the peanuts. It is a big punch of flavour to the mouth. Yum.
The other betal leaf variety they had on offer is the Spanner crab, pomelo, caramalised coconut, galangal & peanuts betel leaf ($4.9 each) which is more mild than the smoked trout betal leaf. You get the sweetness and juiciness of the spanner crab and hints of the caramalised coconuts afterwards which reminds me of a satay sauce. This is also full of flavour but more mild than the first one.
Chichi’s char-grilled seasoned pork mince served with lettcuce, mints, coriander & house special sauce ($12.8) is basically nam noung (a vietnamese bbq pork) which reminds me of my mums cooking.
Ando who is a fan of anything soft shell crab made sure that we had to order the House specialty salt & pepper soft shell crab ($15.8) which was drizzled with lemon juice to balance out the saltiness of the crab. The fried outer layer of the crab had a nice crunch to it and the crab was nice and juicy inside. You can never go wrong with soft shell crab.
Malay style sate chicken on skewer with house sate sauce (6 for $9 or 12 for $16) was a little disappointing. The serves were rather small and we had an inconsistency with the sizes of the skewers.
The Chilli sambal coconut prawns with okra ($23.9) dish caught my eyes. I loved prawns, chilli and coconut and was curious to try okra cooked in another method that did not make it too slimy. And it wasn’t too bad. The bite sized okra eliminated the sliminess and the sambal sauce with hints of coconuts accompanied the prawns very well. It was just a little too much on the salty side and not enough spice.
Braised duck with orange & tamarind sauce ($23.2). The duck was slightly overcooked but still enjoyable. The sweet sauce of orange, tamarind and start anise enhanced the flavour of the duck and the serving of duck was generous.
Massaman curry of beef and potatoes with peanuts & fried shallots ($19.8). The beef was perfectly cooked, soft and it melts in your mouth. This was more on the salty side than chilli but I really enjoyed it.
Fried crisp skin salmon & green papaya salad with Vietnamese mints and fried garlic ($21.6). The fried skin gave an added texture to this salad.
Roti flat bread ($3 each)
Rice bowl ($2.80 per person)
With our stomachs stuffed from the meal, I still couldn’t say no to some desserts. We ended choosing three dessert dishes. The first one is the Panna cotta with mixed berry compote & honeycomb ($10.2). The panna cotta was smooth and creamy, and the berries went well with it. The honeycomb was consistent, airy and melts in your mouth. Both elements were nice on their own but did not go well together.
The Kaffir lime brulee with coconut sorbet ($10.9) intrigued me that most when reading the menu. I love foods with Kaffir lime and I knew I had to try this. The flavour was more subtle than I had anticipated, but it was a lovely creme brulee nonetheless. The sorbet was a bit icy and I would have preferred a coconut ice cream instead of the sorbet.
For me the Fried banana sesame roll with house caramel sauce & salted nut ice cream ($9.2) was a bit disappointing. The flavours did not blend that well together and needed a hint of acidity to break sweetness of the banana and the caramel sauce.
Coming to Chi Chi was a lovely experience and a definite change from the usual food eateries in the Canley and Cabramatta area. It is more pricey but the food and the atmosphere adds up for it. I reckon that this place will be picking up in the next few months, so now is a good time to try this place out.
Shop 3, 264 Canley Vale Road (entrance via Derby Street), Canley Heights, NSW 2166
(02) 9727 2068
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 5pm till late