I often find a lot of Londoners have a select few go to Chinese restaurants when dining out, such Hakkasan, Royal China, Hutong and Yauatcha. Little do most people know that tucked away on the 5th floor of luxury department store Harrods resides a hidden gem, Chai Wu – where your Chinese cuisine dreams really come true.
When I was invited to try out Chai Wu, I was super excited and I knew the perfect person to ask, fellow blogger May from Red Velvet London. It was an ideal opportunity to have a much needed catch-up over some fine dining and wine.
From the start, we were surrounded by food and wine connoisseurs but we decided to started with wine. We tasted a couple of medium bodied red wines and picked a French Pinot Grigio that was light for its kind and would accompany various meats and fishes on the menu.
The menu was filled with so much delicious food, whilst deviating away from your traditional Chinese take-away selection there was more authentic Chinese cuisine offered. Therefore, we left it to the waitress Filomena to make the choice for us and pick the best dishes they served. Little did we know how many dishes there would be…
We started with Alaskan king crab and sweetcorn soup, a traditional dish that May’s mum used to make for her as a child. It was a thick and slightly sticky soup, with shredded crab and sweetcorn. A fantastic way to start a meal.
After the soup the dishes just started flowing out, so there was no real order to what was supposed to come next. We just snapped and ate to our hearts content.
These wagyu puffs were just delicious, strips of seasoned beef inside wrapped in crispy puff pastry topped with black sesame seeds and 9ct gold flakes. Yum!
As a huge dumpling lover, these steamed wagyu beef dumplings topped with beluga caviar were phenomenal. There was so much beef and a light layer of dough skin around the outside giving you a true meaty experience.
Whilst ordering I explained my utter hate for sushi and sashimi but Filomena also claimed before working at Chai Wu, she was exactly like me. Challenging me that the crispy tiger prawn maki roll would change my mind about sushi, (even though it’s cooked!) so I gave it a go. Verdict? I loved it! Whole heartily, I went in for a second and third roll. May couldn’t actually believe that I was going in for more, whilst the waitress slowly smiling as she walked past. Mission accomplished! The dish was presented beautifully with the head of a king prawn for decoration and the addition of dry ice to complete it.
The next dish that came out was the soft shell crab tempura, which I had before at Pan Chai but this was more a spicy and seasoned take of it. The tempura batter was nice a light, not greasy and very flavoursome.
Satay chicken is one of my go to dishes, normally as a starter when seen on a menu at any asian restaurant, so it was a must have. The chicken was tender and well cooked through, with a lovely charcoal crisp on the outer. When dipped in the beautifully made peanut sauce, it was heaven in your mouth.
We ordered the Japanese miyazaki striploin of beef, which is the best kind of beef on the menu. The cows listen to music, whilst being massaged to ensure their fat gets evenly distributed and drink beer. This is not a drill… this is actually true. What a life to live!
I can imagine you’re all thinking, how many more dishes? We thought the same thing but none the less enjoying each of them, each with their own flavours and aromas.
We had sea bass with three flavoured sauces which was fantastic. A sticky and sweet sauce which was presented by the deep fried fish for presentation.
If you’re a fan of sweet desiccated coconut, then this dish is for you. Perfectly sweetened with condense milk mixed with a thick coconut texture before being wrapped around large prawns.
We had a side of Gai Lan in oyster sauce on the side to nibble at. It was a unique experience for me as I have never tried a vegetable like it before, but where May is from it is a common vegetable.
This is the part I hate writing about, but it has to be done. I think when trying the best part of 13 dishes there are going to be some that don’t really take your fancy, but others might like it.
The Korean lobster didn’t do it for either of us. Personally, for the price I would expect the lobster not to be battered. As the batter takes away the true taste of the fish or meat.
The same goes for the sweet and sour chicken served in dragon fruit. I think the dragon fruit was a nice touch but again it was like your traditional sweet and sour chicken you get from a local take-away served in a different way. The battering took away the texture and flavour of the chicken. Not something I would order again.
There was also the smoked chicken, which sadly I didn’t manage to get a photo of but it was served in a tall martini glass with battered thin chicken strips that had been smoked. Nothing that substantial, with not much flavour and it was a bit dry.
Ending things on a better note though, there was a lot of talk about the green tea fondant dessert when I was researching about Chai Wu prior to our visit. May and I were really looking forward to it and let’s just say it lived up to its expectations.
What a masterpiece. Sweet, soft, moist with the most extravagant green tea chocolate sauce that just poured out as soon as you cut into it. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and half a passion fruit. May and I both agreed we would definitely come back again, even if it was just to eat the dessert again (one each next time!) and have a glass of good wine.
The whole experience was phenomenal at Chai Wu, from start to finish. The food was brilliant and it was a real taste of luxury. Definitely a place I would recommend for a date night or for big celebrations. A special thanks to Filomena for being an excellent waitress with a constant smile, attentive service and always there to offer her unbiased opinion. Probably the best service I have had in London to date.
Until next time…