You may remember that I recently enjoyed a couple of evenings dining at Pan Chai and Mango Tree in the Harrods Food Hall. We had such a great evening that we went back last Friday to try their sister restaurant – Chai Wu – this time located upstairs on the 5th floor.
Chai Wu is a new contemporary Chinese restaurant, serving up exotic and colourful dishes, using the highest quality of ingredients. Their menu boasts a selection of soups, dim sum and small dishes, and for main course, diners have the option between a charcoal grill menu, Beijing duck or signature a la carte dishes. Aside from the Beijing duck, other showstoppers include a whole Scottish lobster with Szechuan butter, Wagyu beef skewers with chilli jam and Alaskan king crab!
The restaurant oozes elegance with lots of dark wood, marbles and leather. The staff are attentive and helpful. Our waitress knew the menu inside and out and was able to offer fantastic suggestions – a skill I admire, especially when dining at a new restaurant, a waiter’s opinion can be golden.
As we were reviewing the restaurant we were offered a selection of some of Chai Wu’s most popular dishes, and as there is very little we don’t enjoy, we were happy for our waitress to choose dishes for us based on her recommendation. This allowed us to full immerse ourselves in the restaurant, their philosophy and of course the food.
For starters we enjoyed salt & pepper squid with chili and Szechuan peppercorns, fatty tuna and salmon sashimi, Harrods special sushi rolls (snowcrab, avocado and spicy mayo, topped with scallops, caviar and spring onion), and wagyu beef puff pastries. Out of this selection, Stew’s favourite was the fatty tuna, whereas mine was the Harrods sushi rolls – absolutely delicious!
For our next course we shared a selection of dim sum, which included incredible meat and fish, fantastic flavours and impressive presentation. The steamed dimsum platter costs £38 and includes Alaskan crab spinach with XO sauce, seabass with gold leaf, lobster topped with caviar, scallop foie gras, prawn with truffle and vegetarian with goji berry. Sushi and dim sum are my favourite types of cuisine, so both this and the Harrods Special sushi rolls were my favourites of the whole evening. I could’ve eat another basked of these beautiful dumplings.
As I mentioned earlier, Chai Wu offer Beijing duck, which you can either have by the half or whole. If you pick a whole duck you can have half served with traditional pancakes and Chinese buns, and the second half used in a fried rice dish, or minced into lettuce cups. We were so thrilled to be able to try the duck, after having it previously in Beijing. In Beijing there are entire restaurants dedicated to only duck and it is nothing like the duck you will find in a Chinese takeaway here. It’s hard to pin point exactly what makes it so special, but my tip is to add a sprinkling of sugar to the crispy skin – amazing! Luckily Chai Wu’s duck lived up to all my expectations and I was transported back to Beijing 🙂
Just when we thought the dishes must be coming to an end, our waitress laid fresh plates and brought over a number of main course dishes from the a la carte menu. These included – Szechuan chicken, sweet and sour seabass, prawn fried rice and Chinese broccoli. The fried rice and broccoli were to die for, and the Szechuan pepper was super authentic. I would highly recommended all three of these dishes. The seabass was a little too sweet for me, but I’m not a fan of sweet and sour, so it was always going to be difficult to change my mind.
Finally for dessert we shared an exotic fruit platter with the addition of Chai Wu’s signature green tea chocolate fondant and a Belgian chocolate fondant. Although we were completely full, we couldn’t resist devouring this platter. The presentation was absolutely stunning too!.. I’ve requested that Stew cuts my strawberries into flowers every time now. Ha!
Chai Wu: 5/5
- Incredible ingredients
- Unique flavours
- Flawless presentation
- Highly recommend the Beijing Duck and Harrods Special sushi rolls
- Be sure to leave enough room for desseert – the green tea chocolate fondant is next level!