What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than at one of London’s most iconic shops; Harrods of Knightsbridge. Well thanks to Chai Wu, a new contemporary Chinese restaurant located on the fifth floor of this world-famous department store, there is one thing better than shopping . . . eating.
Sunday is usually a somewhat of a no-man’s-land kind of day, either spent hungover, cleaning or generally mooching, it has never had the pizzazz of a Friday or Saturday. However, to remedy this, a lazy afternoon “drunch” (lunch/dinner) is the perfect pastime for a Sunday, and for Eisbär and I it was much needed after a somewhat indulgent Saturday night.
We entered Harrods and made our way to the 5th floor from the elevator in the Fine Jewellery Room, the door opened and directly in front was the entrance to Chai Wu. The interior design of the restaurant is inspired by the five elements in Chinese philosophy; fire, water, wood, earth and
metal. The mixture of marbles, timbers and leather create an elegant and welcoming setting, despite being a relatively small space with dividers and lighting the space feels intimate but airy. We were greeted warmly by Zuzana who showed us to our table situated at the back overlooking the restaurant and charcoal grill in the centre. Over a glass of Prestige Rose Moutard champagne we perused the menu that listed the Pan Asian delights on offer.
The menu at Chai Wu was created by Chef Jason See Ming Hwa, who specialises in Chinese cookery, and overseen by Ian Pengelley, Group Executive Chef, one of the UK’s leading experts in Asian cuisine. Together they have created a diverse menu incorporating speciality and luxury ingredients. We started with the Chai Wu signature dish of Half Beijing duck; this was served in two ways, firstly the duck is bought to your table and expertly carved by the chef, the succulent pieces are presented beautifully on a plate with several condiments including hoisin, plum and Sichuan sauce as well as garlic and white truffle oil, pickled radish and sugar and pepper dip.
The duck was so perfectly cooked, the skin was crispy and the meat juicy and moist, the plate was empty in seconds as Eisbär and I inhaled the contents. The remaining duck is taken back to the kitchen to be prepared in to a second style, which you can chose from, we opted for the minced duck in lettuce leaf, which was served later in the meal. The second serving was somewhat bland in comparison to the crispy duck but was still beautifully presented.
From the charcoal grill we had the King scallop and wagyu beef skewers, the scallops were HUGE, very tender, they basically fell apart in our mouths, extremely delicious, the beef skewers were equally an amazing texture, tender but firm with a very beefy taste. All dishes from the charcoal grill are available with a selection of sauces, we opted for the ginger salsa and Sichuan sauce, both
went perfectly with the seafood and meat.
What is great about Chai Wu, and Asian food in general, is the ability to mix and match, smaller portions mean a constant flow of tasty dishes delighting the palate without filling the stomach, the perfect grazing situation for a lazy Sunday.
After a top up of champagne we moved on to the fish potion of our drunch, first up for Eisbär the coconut prawns, meaty prawns with a Thai curry aroma that looked more like lobster in disguise due to the size, I had the charcoaled salmon marinated in manuka honey from the “Ladies Lunch Menu”, a very simple dish that was sweet and tart in its taste from the mandarin in the marinade. The last two dishes were the Chilean sea bass with champagne and honey, cooked to perfection bordering on raw with a fresh moist delicate taste, and the Harrods Special, fresh snow crab with avocado and spicy mayonnaise rolls topped with caviar, pure decadence on a plate!
We finished the meal with the Exotic fruit platter, which consisted of, drum roll please . . . dragon fruit, start fruit, watermelon, cantaloupe, passion fruit, apple, pear, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries all served on ice. A veritable Smörgåsbord of the best nature has to offer all very fresh and perfectly paired with our rose champagne.
Having sauntered in at around 2pm, it was now clocking on 5pm, with such wonderful food, champagne and great company the afternoon had been willed away. The sun had set and Brompton Road had taken on a new persona as the lights lite the street signifying the end of the day and therefore the weekend. Chai Wu with its world-renowned surroundings, delicious Pan-Asian food, extensive cocktail and wine menu and gracious helpful staff is the perfect place to loose a few hours on a Sunday. Do not let Sunday be a nothing day, make it a Chai Wu day!
87–135 Brompton Road