chai wu london
I bought new shoes for my inaugural trip to Chai Wu.

I did. I really did.

The entire day prior to our dinner reservation, The Boy and I endured a ten-(plus)-mile hike from Brighton to Eastbourne and, even though I had carried a dinner dress in my bag the whole way, I forgot to pack anything but trainers.

Chai Wu deserves much more than trainers.

As you may remember from their Ladies Lunch, the restaurant – hidden in the upper decks of Harrods‘ golden labyrinth – serves faultlessly modern Chinese cuisine with service and prices to match.

Slipping on and kicking off all at once, we cheers’d our day’s effort with a bottle of Dopff Au Moulin’s 2013 Riesling before launching into a savoury feast unlike any other.

We’re talking lobster dumplings (topped with beluga caviar), a cocktail glass of gargantuan prawn spring rolls (served with sesame seeds and tomato salsa), the most delicate and flavourful Wagyu puffs I’ve ever come across, the Harrods special roll (fresh snow crab, avocado & spicy mayonnaise roll topped with chopped scallops, orange & black caviar & spring onion – a stunning meal on its own), and a plate of coconut prawns so unbelievably sauced they trumped my personal “unbeatable” Floridian heritage prawns.

And this was all prior to the main event.

The aforementioned – the Beijing Duck – was ceremoniously carved at our tableside, then served with fresh pancakes, Mantou buns, cucumber, spring onions, and a surfeit of sauces (hoi sin, pickled radish, cucumber, plum, et al – any sauce you could possibly desire). Even without the ‘trimmings’, the duck was flawless – tender on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside.

Naturally, we licked our plates clean.

Though we couldn’t bear the idea of dessert after such a gluttonous affair, our espressos arrived alongside a trio of handmade chocolate truffles that were simply too beautiful to refuse.

The whole evening was a sensory delight and one I intend on repeating for many years to come.

chai wu london
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chai wu london
Though Harrods is one of my most-loved pit stops for all things luxury, my Harrods food explorations have been limited to decadent brunches in Laduree (also known as shopping fuel) and the food hall itself.

This was true, at least, until the department store’s celebrated contemporary Chinese restaurant – Chai Wu – launched an eight-course tasting menu designed to be the “ultimate, extravagant experience for health conscious customers”.

The Ladies Lunch menu, as it’s monikered, is undeniably extravagant.

What started as a glass of champagne alongside delicately steamed XO sauce soy beans quickly segued into lobster & sea bass crystal dumplings which, frankly, I could have devoured an ovrtflowing bamboo steamer of.

Chased with wheatgrass and avocado shooters (fellow green juice addicts will adore this creamy treat), we then moved on to a few increasingly substantial courses. First, a ‘Beauty Bucket‘/slate of teapotted poached Shanghainese chicken in a clear soup with the option of salty collagen jelly followed by crispy, charcoaled salmon marinated in Manuka honey, Shaoxing wine and mandarin. The latter being the irrefutable Chinese quintessence of food porn.

Though pudding came in threes, the earthy green tea fondant took the pun-less cake. Served with milk and collagen ice cream (natch), the incredibly light fondant practically bled antioxidants.

The other ‘puds’ – fruity edible lipsticks and a little candied strawberries & cream delight swimming in champagne – were rather special, themselves. This is a tasting menu not to be missed.

(The menu costs £70 per person and is served from Sunday to Friday, 12pm until 5pm.)

chai wu london
chai wu london
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