I’ve eaten a lot of food in my life – but this meal may well be the most amount of gluttony I’ve enjoyed in one single sitting. Dish after dish, gold leaf after leaf and truffle shaving after truffle oil. This wasn’t just decadence – but a little slice of heaven nestled away in Knightsbridge. We can say thanks to all of that to Chai Wu in Harrods. A contemporary Chinese restaurant on the 5th floor, set in a sultry and opulent space full of glamour and star-studded clientele. If you’re visiting – don’t forget your credit card – and of course ordering the obligatory glass of chilled Champagne to start proceedings.
One thing the team really know how to do well here, is dim sum. It’s not just good, it’s excellent. Each parcel has been created with such care and precision that you simply can’t help but get excited with each bite. Alaskan crab spinach dumpling with XO sauce, sea bass with gold leaf, lobster dumpling topped with caviar, scallop foie gras and prawn & vegetarian dumpling. £32 for six pieces is never going to be cheap but when dim sum is this good, you may as well.
I’m almost certain we got through just about every platter here at Chai Wu and the favourite was quite easily the simplest of them all. The fresh sashimi. Gorgeous fatty tuna, excellent salmon, melt in the mouth yellow tail, delicate sliced scallop and meaty eel. A plate of the Harrods special sushi roll was also very, very satisfying. Made up of fresh snow crab, avocado & spicy mayonnaise – then all topped off with black caviar.
Another dish, another platter – it’s the only way to do Chai Wu properly. A mixed grilled seafood platter packed with a half lobster, gigantic tiger prawn, a single king scallop and juicy Alaskan king crab legs – the latter being our favourite. A great dish but if I’m completely honest it could have had a little more care put into it as some parts were either under-cooked, expertly cooked or overcooked – for these prices it needs to be perfect. The bottle of Sancerre we ordered went absolutely perfectly with the dish.
Crispy goodness came in the way of an unbelievably good version of soft shell crab. The tempura batter had a sort of buttermilk richness to it which made it so satisfying and the creamy spicy dressing gave a slight sweetness. The chilli, salt and spring onion crumble made it even more satisfying. A real highlight and surprisingly very well priced at just £16. The crispy salt & pepper squid was great too. Three baskets full to the brim and well coated in a chilli and Szechuan peppercorn salt – it doesn’t get much better than this.
By this point we were admittedly a little full, yet the two of us somehow managed to squeeze in another few dishes before even tackling dessert. A plate of excellent lamb chops arrived first and had been covered in a refined and delicately spiced Szechuan sauce which got the tongue tingling, but with not quite the need to reach for that glass of water. It goes without saying what the best of the meaty mission was – the duck. A well-blown and prepared half duck, carved table-side. The skin was golden and crispy and the meat was pink and juicy. Priced at £42 you’ll have to close your eyes while ordering, but it really is up there with some of the best. The side of gai lan with oyster sauce is a must.
If you manage to eat as much food as we did, you probably won’t have room for dessert – though I’d highly recommend making space because the Chai Wu dessert platter is rather special. A beautiful chocolate mousse, well-made ice cream selection and a green tea fondant of dreams. The latter apparently being the restaurants signature dessert, and you can see why. Oozing out all over the plate with just the sight of my fork.
Chai Wu is without question a treat. With the sometimes obscene prices they charge this isn’t going to be accessible to everyone, but for those looking to turn their shopping experience into a much more memorable one then Chai Wu couldn’t be more suited. It really is up there with some of the best and I can’t wait to come back for another portion of that soft shell crab and outstanding Sashimi platter. I highly recommend Chai Wu and it’s the perfect venue to treat a loved one.
I was invited to review