Chai Wu

Harrods (Fifth Floor), 87 - 135 Old Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London

A lavish Chinese feast at the world’s most luxurious department store



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Address:87 - 135 Old Brompton Road
Knightsbridge
London
SW1X 7XL
Map:Map & nearby
Cuisine:Chinese
Region:Knightsbridge
Nearest Station:Knightsbridge
Telephone:
About: In charge at the fifth floor Harrods eatery is Chef Jason See Ming Hwa together with Ian Pengelley who has forged a reputation as one of the country's leading Chinese food specialists having worked at the likes of Mango Tree and Gilgamesh amongst many others. This winning duo have crafted a menu of speciality and luxury ingredients including Chilean sea-bass dumplings with gold leaf, and a Wagyu and black pepper puff. For mains, diners have the option of à la carte dishes or fresh meat, fish and vegetables grilled to order, such as poussin with spicy chilli-lime dressing. Signature plates and specialities will include Beijing duck, Alaskan king crab with soy glaze, and lotus root and lily bulb in a spicy toban sauce.

Incorporating natural elements throughout the space, finishes have a mix of marble, leather and timber. There's a theatrical charcoal grill in the centre of the restaurant; the dining bar surrounding the grill offer guests a prime view of the chefs at work and a glimpse into the excitement of the kitchen.

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Nearby alternatives

  1. Chai Wu (0.0 miles)
    Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7XL
  2. Le Chinios (0.1 miles)
    Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, SW1X 9NU
  3. Mr Chow (0.1 miles)
    Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7PA

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London's Most Indulgent Desserts
This swanky Chinese restaurant on the fifth floor of Harrods has Pan-Asian expert Ian Pengelley overseeing the menu. The chocolate sphere with combines table theatre with sheer indulgence: a chocolate globe is filled with vanilla ice cream over which you pour a jug of hot white chocolate custard. The ball melts dramatically until you’re left with a rich, gloopy mess.



"A lavish Chinese feast at the world’s most luxurious department store"

Review Rating: 7 / 10
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Any lavish department store worth its salt has a selection of suitably ostentatious restaurants, and Harrods, as the world’s most luxurious, follows this rule to a tee. It’s currently home to Michelin-starred Galvin brothers’ Galvin Demoiselle, a branch of famous Parisian confectioners Ladurée, and oyster specialists Bentley’s Sea Grill. The latest addition is Chai Wu, a modern Chinese restaurant on the fifth floor, plonked in the midst of miles of designer sports wear and Harrods’ very own Shoe Heaven.

A marker of a swanky restaurant is the suede or leather-bound menu, here it combines both. A further indicator is the proliferance of lobster, truffle, and in the case of Asian cuisines, wagyu beef, the more liberally used the better. So at Chai Wu, it fills wagyu puffs, which are decorated with gold leaf (naturally). There are steaks, starting from £70 for a 200g sirloin, but instead we opt for the wagyu skewers, which are nice but not particularly mind-blowing.

The prized meat is used again in the wagyu tartare, which puts the velvety meat to better use. It’s an innovative take on the classic that employs sweet plum sauce and Chinese pear rather than the usual Worcestershire sauce and gherkins, so it might shock those who prefer their raw beef with a mustardy kick.

A couple of the dishes we try are excellent, and demonstrate why chef Ian Pengelley is so in demand at the moment (as executive chef of the Pan Chai group, he’s involved with Mango Tree, Nozomi and their eponymous restaurant, also at Harrods.) These are the grilled lamb cutlets, juicy and nicely charred on the outside, and a very satisfying lobster roll, with big chunks of lobster tempura, spinach, crunchy asparagus and good dollops of mayonnaise.

The star of the show is the Beijing duck, here served the traditional way in two sittings. The meat is elaborately carved in front of us and served firstly with pancakes and pillowy-soft Mantou buns, along with more sauces than we have enough meat for, among them sweet plum, garlic and truffle oil, and hot Sichuan sauce. For the second sitting we choose lettuce leaves wrapped around minced duck over the duck fried rice.

Desserts are good too: green tea chocolate fondant marries earthy and creamy flavours, and we’re even treated to a little theatricality with the chocolate sphere, a globe filled with vanilla ice cream over which hot custard is poured, dramatically melting the ball till it’s a rich, gloopy mess.

Chai Wu is aimed at Harrods shoppers – it closes at 8pm and a meal for two averages £200 – it’s an enjoyable romp nonetheless.


Leila reviewed Chai Wu on Sat 28 Feb 2015

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