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EATING OUT

Restaurant Reviews

Chai Wu

Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL Telephone: 0203 819 8888 You don’t normally associate a department store with good restaurants, but then Harrods is no ordinary department store. How great to be able to combine an afternoon’s shopping with a really exceptional meal at the end of it, without even needing to leave the building. Perfect for a cold or rainy day when you don’t want to venture out too much, but equally acceptable on a warm summer’s evening after a long leisurely walk from the station through Knightsbridge, with all the colour, glamour and jaw-dropping sports cars cruising by, to keep you entertained. Chai Wu is on the fifth floor of Harrods, but as soon as you are seated you completely forget that fact, as the restaurant has a strong identity of its own. The concept and design are inspired by the five Chinese elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water; with the finishes a mix of marble, leather and timber.This use of natural elements, along with the charcoal grill at the centre of the space, gives the restaurant a sophisticated, sexy vibe. The service here was really impressive; attentive but not obtrusive, with an obvious passion for excellent customer service and detailed knowledge of the menu. Our waitress was keen for us to sample as wide a range of specialities and signature dishes as possible. The diverse menu has been created by chef Ian Pengelley, one of the UK’s leading experts in Asian cuisine, and represents modern Chinese cooking through the use of speciality and luxury ingredients. We were guided by the recommendations of our waitress when it came to ordering, and enjoyed a whole range of dishes, but one of the highlights was the Traditional Beijing Duck which was carved in front of us and served in the traditional way with pancakes, spring onion and hoisin sauce, but with the addition of some exciting twists. Mantou Buns were served along with the pancakes, 2

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which were deliciously soft and sweet, providing the perfect combination with the duck. There was also an impressive selection of sauces and condiments including szechuan sauce, ginger salsa, plum sauce and an unusual garlic and white truffle sauce, which was my personal favourite. The balance of the duck was then used to make another dish; we chose the duck fried rice over the alternative which was minced duck with lettuce wrap. At £48 for half a Beijing duck, this is one of those dishes that I would never tire of eating. The Dim Sum platter (£38) that followed featured dumplings with Alaskan Crab and spinach, Seabass with gold leaf, Lobster topped with caviar, Prawn and a tasty Scallop Foie Gras. These delicious morsels disappeared pretty quickly, and I could have eaten a whole plate of the Scallop Dumplings, which were my favourite of the selection. Being big fans of prawns my husband and I found it hard to choose a favourite between the Popcorn Shrimp, Grilled Tiger Prawns and Coconut Prawns, all of which we were lucky enough to sample. The Popcorn Shrimps, £21, served with a creamy spicy dressing, would be perfect as a starter or accompaniment with drinks, being light, tasty and easy to eat. The Coconut Prawns went down well with my husband as he loved the coconut coating combining sweetness with the intensity of the spices. The Grilled Tiger Prawns, £23, from the Charcoal Grill, were among the largest tiger prawns I have eaten and their impressive size was matched by their flavour. Another popular dish that works well as a snack or side is the Salt and Pepper Squid, with chilli. This is something I often choose as a starter and Chai Wu’s version did not disappoint. It was beautifully fresh, lightly battered and not at all chewy- one of the pitfalls of squid, I often find! You may be wondering how we were able to eat all this food, and at about this point in the meal, I was wondering the same thing. But in the name of dedication to the cause we carried on, in the knowledge that we may not need to

eat for the next day or two! From the Charcoal Grill we enjoyed that staple of Chinese menus: Chicken Satay, £15, with its rich peanut sauce and an especially good Stir Fried Chicken with szechuan sauce (£22). To conclude we sampled the ‘Harrods Special Roll’ from the Chilled and Fresh menu. These beautifully presented bite size morsels are a combination of fresh Snow Crab, avocado and chopped scallops topped with orange and black caviar and spring onion. It was really delicious, but impossible to manage, so we took it home to enjoy the next day. My teenage son always tells me he has two stomachs- one for dinner and another completely separate one for pudding, in other words there is no situation, however much he has eaten, in which he doesn’t have room for dessert! There was certainly a bit of this theory at work, as we were presented with a Green Tea Chocolate Fondant, £8. I had doubts that I could eat any of it, but once I sampled a little, I kept going back for more, until between the two of us, like Jack Sprat in the nursery rhyme, we had literally licked the platter clean. This is a delicious take on the popular dessert, with its liquid chocolate centre, and the delicate green tea of the sponge was a delight. Our evening of indulgence was brought to a close with pots of their fresh tea, of which there is a good choice of speciality Chinese teas, amongst all the usual coffee and tea options. I opted for a fresh mint tea, whilst my husband chose the jasmine flowering green tea. I should also mention that Chai Wu has an extensive cocktail menu, from which I sampled the Chai-Wu Special, one of their non-alcoholic choices, before our meal. As you would expect, the wine list is also excellent, offering a great range of superb wines. We left the restaurant, and Harrods, in need of a good walk, but with memories of a really excellent meal. The Harrods name is associated with quality and excellence and Chai Wu certainly delivers on both of these.

American in Britain Autumn 2016  

The features in this issue include Mid-Year Tax Round-Up by Westleton Drake; Wealth Management: The Role Of Foreign Exchange in Investing by...

American in Britain Autumn 2016  

The features in this issue include Mid-Year Tax Round-Up by Westleton Drake; Wealth Management: The Role Of Foreign Exchange in Investing by...

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