If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll remember that last year I reviewed Pan Chai, a restaurant in the food court of Harrods. More recently, I was invited to try out the menu at Chai Wu, a sister restaurant, on the fifth floor of Harrods. It’s a contemporary Chinese restaurant in an elegant setting, inspired by the five elements of Chinese philosophy: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Now onto the food…
First up were these incredible (and enormous!) drinks. As it was only a Monday lunch time, Iona and I opted for mocktails – but they didn’t spare any of the fanciness! I’m usually not a fan of mocktails – I find them sickly sweet and fairly underwhelming without the alcohol – but not this time. On the left is a Samsara, a mix of cranberry juice, passion juice and lemonade, which was so, so refreshing. Thank God these were mocktails, if I’d had a drink that large with alcohol in it I’m not sure I would’ve made it home!
For starters, we were spoiled with some of my favourite types of asian food – wagyu beef and sushi. These weren’t just any Wagyu puffs, however, these were wagyu puffs topped with gold leaf. Fancy af. I tried Wagyu for the first time when I was in Japan this summer but I have to say that authentic Japanese street food honestly has nothing on Chai Wu’s wagyu puffs. The beef melts in your mouth and is worth every. penny. Next up was the Harrods Sushi Special, which I’ve actually tried before down in Chai Wu’s sister restaurant Pan Chai. Yes, they are topped with caviar and they are increds!
Have you ever seen anything more delicate and exquisite than this steamed dim sum platter? I certainly haven’t had dim sum topped with gold leaf or caviar before! All five of these delicacies are different and it was impossible to choose a favourite: Alaskan crab spinach dumpling with XO sauce, Seabass with gold leaf, lobster dumpling topped with caviar, scallop foie gras or prawn & vegetarian dumpling?! We were spoilt for choice! It’s a shame that these are so small and delicate because I could eat these for days.
Although Chai Wu London would mostly describe itself as serving Chinese cuisine, they clearly take inspiration from all over Asian and indeed the world. These leaf wraps on the left remind me of Korean BBQ where you often wrap your BBQed meat with a lettuce leaf and on the right we have sticks of wagyu beef, a Japanese delicacy. These may perhaps look like pretty simple asian dishes but obviously with the Harrods touch they were mind-blowingly delicious (yes, seriously).
By this point I was thoroughly stuffed by the food just kept on coming! Next up, we were treated to this amazing Korean lobster with spicy honey sauce. They’d already cut it up for us and it was exquisite. They served it in the lobster shell, which looked very impressive but it looked impossible to eat! We left the lobster til last because neither of us were brave enough to brave these shells. However, in the end, we realised that they’d actually carefully cut up the meat for us so it was easy to dig into. Woops.
This was followed up (finally) with Chai Wu’s signature Peking duck pancakes. This was a really special experience as we had the chef at our table cutting the duck meat right in front of us! I regularly have Peking duck pancakes at home and have had eaten this dish in Beijing many times too but, again, the Harrods version managed to match authentic Beijing pancakes. We didn’t manage to finish these as there really was far too much food on the table but I was loath to leave any as the duck meat was so succulent and fatty.
Unfortunately I had to rush off before dessert but I have been reliably informed that the matcha cake is incredible. I’ll just have to go back to try that!
All in all, I had an incredible dining experience at Chai Wu Harrods and it is top of list for asian restaurants in London. Obviously it’s not the cheapest restaurant around but this is definitely one to consider when you’re celebrating an occasion and looking to treat yourself to exquisite food that is actually worth the $$ you’re paying.
Many thanks to Chai Wu London for having me for lunch!
Harrods, 5th Floor
87–135 Brompton Rd
Monday-Saturdays 11:30 to 8pm
Sundays 11:30 to 5pm