The Bullring’s Pan Asian restaurant Chi Kitchen has closed down less than two years after opening.
The restaurant opened inside Debenhams in September 2015 amid much fanfare as the first Chi Kitchen in the UK - followed by a second eatery at the flagship Debenhams store in Oxford Street
It focused on flavours from Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean cuisine but due to lack of customers, was forced to close down.
It has been replaced by SOHO Coffee Company, a coffee chain which has 33 branches all over the UK.
A spokeswoman for Debenhams said: “Chi Kitchen has great appeal for evening trade but as our store closes at 8pm it was decided that it would be more beneficial to offer customers a food experience which had more day time appeal.
“Chi Kitchen continues to trade in our flagship Oxford Street store in London where it serves until 11pm.”
The Chi Kitchen concept was the brainchild of Eddie Lim, owner of Mango Tree, the acclaimed Thai restaurant in London’s Belgravia.
At the time, it was hoped that Chi Kitchen’s launch would encourage Bullring shoppers to remain in that side of the shopping centre if they wanted a bite to eat rather than heading to Selfridges where there is a range of dining options including newly opened Izza Pizza .
In January 2016 Masterchef winner Ping Coombes was recruited as the restaurant’s consultant chef and made promotional appearances at the Bullring.
Satya Pambey, from Chi Kitchen and Mango Tree head office, told the Birmingham Mail: “ There was not much business at our Birmingham branch of Chi Kitchen so the decision was made to close.”
The Chi Kitchen at the flagship Oxford Street London store is a favourite with celebrities including Beverley Knight and Eastenders star Jacqueline Jossa.
As well as coffee, SOHO Coffee Company serves freshly made sandwiches wraps, salads and jacket potatoes. It's the latest coffee shop to open in the city.
The Debenhams cafe on the third floor of the Bullring is still open.