Chai Wu is a newly-opened, sophisticated Chinese restaurant on the 5th floor of Harrods, with a contemporary layout, an open kitchen and a cool dining space. There is the option of sushi and sashimi, the seafood displayed on ice.
Staff are more than attentive, and speedily took our drinks order whilst proffering spicy edamame beans and refreshing cucumber batons. We thought it best to skip the exotic cocktail menu, and were pleased with a comprehensive wine list, featuring several champagnes and wines. The cleverly chosen Chinese menu has eliminated any “average” dishes, and instead opts for expensive ingredients, creating discerning dishes.
Following knowledgeable advice, we started with the Wagyu Puff, a rather large puff of pastry with a good meaty filling. This was followed by the Dim Sum Platter, delicate parcels daintily decorated with truffle, gold leaf and caviar, comprising a sophisticated selection of seabass, lobster, prawn, scallop and vegetables.
From The Grill, we chose succulent, chunky Wagyu Skewers and King Scallops on the shell, with a zingy ginger salsa. Billowing with dry ice, The Harrods Special was particularly dramatically presented. A sushi roll, it was a melting mouthful of rice with crab, avocado and spicy mayonnaise, topped with scallops and caviar. Excellent.
Traditional Beijing Duck was dark and glossy, professionally carved at our table, the skin delicate and crisp, and the meat soft. We preferred the pancakes to the Mantou Buns, with the remaining meat served either in lettuce wraps or as duck fried rice.
Keeping up with the really artistic presentation, the Sweet & Sour Chicken was served in a pink dragonfruit bowl. The fruit itself was fried, crunchy and sweet, served with a sticky sauce.
The Grand Finale for us (as we really couldn’t eat any more!), was the Coconut Prawn dish, a seriously naughty, terrifically coconutty, deep-fried prawn concoction. Enhanced with chilli and spring onion, it was heavenly but not for the calorie-conscious!
Chai Wu is indeed glamorous, the food is expertly presented and it offers a more modern approach to Chinese cooking. It is a good addition to what is generally “counter eating” within Harrods. Perhaps not to be treated as a shopping break, but as a proper dining experience.