If you were ever looking for brilliantly elegant Asian cuisine in London, you need look no further than Chai Wu in Knightsbridge.
Located on the fifth floor of the famed Harrods department store, Chai Wu is a fine dining hidden gem that once you find, well you’re going to want to tell all of your friends.
No longer a hidden secret to us, we padded our way into the restaurant. The decor is inspired by the five elements Chinese philosophy: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The charcoal grill in the centre of the restaurant offer guests a prime view of the chefs at work and a glimpse into the excitement of the kitchen. And the glamorous dark marble and the wood detailing aren’t too be missed. It’s architectural design meets a gloriously thought out menu.
And a glorious menu it is.
We started with wine, a simple Pinot Grigio, because despite years of honing my wine skills, I am basic with my choices. So incredibly basic. Kudos to the Chai Wu team for not judging my selection, as they generously poured our glasses. Somehow throughout our evening, this would feel like the never ending wine bottle. A true feat, because I have been known to tackle a bottle at dinner rather rapidly. Especially with my pal Grace by my side.
It was a lovely wine though, not too high priced considering our setting, at around £45. I’ve never ordered a bottle of wine over £75 before and today wasn’t going to be the day.
The Chai Wu menu is extensive. If you come with a vast knowledge of Asian cuisine, you’ll breeze through the menu. If you come with a knowledge of liking food, like myself… you’re going to get a little bit stuck. Luckily their staff are full of recommendations on what to try out.
So we started with Dim Sum. Despite my limited knowledge, I knew that I’d be a winner with the Dim Sum, so we decided to share a platter. Steamed dim sum includes sea bass with gold leaf, lobster dumpling topped with caviar, truffled prawn, scallop and vegetarian dumplings.
It’s beautiful. And delicious.
My favourite was probably the truffled prawn, however the sea bass with a golden leaf is an equally magnificent contender. Grace and I split all of these babes right down the middle, so we could try them all. It was both, completely not elegant and also, such a good call. There was no way we were missing out on any one of these beauties.
Onto the sushi, shall we? I’m a massive lover of sushi. If it’s on the menu, I’m going to order it and if there’s any place in Knightsbridge to order sushi, it’s got to be in one of Harrods’ finest restaurants.
We started with the Chai Wu special, because, when in Chai Wu, you know? Spicy tuna with mayonnaise, spring onions, topped with chopped tuna belly. It’s not good sushi, it’s great sushi. I loved every single bite of this. Even better sushi, requires little to no soy sauce. I didn’t really need to douse each piece. A quick delicate tap is all it needed, if any at all.
It was at this point in the evening that we ordered our part two mains. You see, I have a very hard time making choices. Genuinely, it can take too long. Before we go on holidays, I can’t make up my mind for months on hotel options, restaurants, you name it. So when it comes to an extensive menu, I’m befuddled. I *think* it’s because I’m mostly easy going when it comes to choices. I’ll try anything that’s in front of me. But making that choice for the group? Woah fella. It’s gonna take a while.
So our next move? More sushi.
We couldn’t not order the Harrods special. Fresh snow crab, avocado and spicy mayonnaise roll, topped with chopped scallops, orange, black caviar and spring onion. And I knew the caviar on top would pique Grace’s interest.
But it couldn’t be a night of just sushi and dim sum, so we decided to order the Sweet and sour chicken served in a DRAGONFRUIT (OMG) and some steamed greens to pair alongside. We were initially recommended to try the duck, and they bring it out and shred it all for you, but I thought it might be a bit too much food for us to handle. I mean, I’m happy to take one for the team and eat everything in my sight, but also, I try to limit meals out. Otherwise, things get out of hand and you eat way too much. I’ve learned through ~experience~.
The chicken might have been some of the best I’ve had in a long time. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I had sweet and sour chicken. It’s brilliant. I’d order this time and time again. And the presentation was a little too much to handle. So pretty.
While I could have munched on these all night long, we couldn’t because um, we ate it all.
Never to be defeated, we had to get dessert. And in a twist of fate that I didn’t see coming… we got to try. it. all.
Oh. em. gee. (!!!!)
Well okay, I think it was most of the desserts on the menu at least. Green tea chocolate fondant, the dreamiest Carrot Cake with hints of espresso (even more !!! here), along with Chai Wu ice creams including Vanilla, Salted caramel, and Green tea. I mean, were we absolutely brimming full of food? Yes. Did we manage to eat most of this anyways? Somehow, yes.
We waltzed out of the restaurant, no, I’m totally kidding. Rolled out of the restaurant, full as can be from a delicious meal.
The quality of our dishes, the selection of ingredients and the service throughout the evening was all just spot on. And we weren’t the only ones. The restaurant was a little bit sparse (it was a Monday after all), but the level of attention each table gets is mirrored to match the others.
I know that I’ll definitely be back again. Because I really can’t stop raving about it to Joe…
Harrods restaurants are always winners though, aren’t they?