Chai Wu, one of this years highly anticipated new openings, is a contemporary Chinese restaurant, located on the fifth floor of Harrods. Inspired by the five elements of Chinese philosophy, the interior exudes understated elegance and refinement. Lavish materials of an assortment of earthy tones, paired with marbled walls, leather seating and an open sushi dining bar, combine to offer fine dining in an intimate setting.
The first course to arrive was Chai Wu’s speciality half Beijing Duck. Beijing Duck is a staple of Chinese cuisine, however, authentic halal Beijing Duck is some what of a rarity. Furthermore, finding a restaurant that serves halal Beijing Duck in a traditional manner, carved in-situ, is a rare encounter, which made the experience at Chai Wu that more unique.
The Wagyu Puffs topped with black sesame seeds and edible gold were decadently indulgent. The pastry, with its beautifully golden glazed skin, was remarkably soft with a rich buttery taste that caused the pastry to dissolve effortlessly with each mastication, complimenting the well seasoned Wagyu filling whilst not being overpowering.
The Sweet and Sour Chicken with Dragon Fruit was aesthetically stunning in appearance with the glossy vivid orange sweet and sour chicken pieces paired with the vibrantly pink dragon fruit shell. The chicken was crispy with the sweet and sour flavour coming through strongly. The dragon fruit pieces added a cooling and smooth contrast against the crispy coated chicken.
The Szechuan Chicken was another strikingly colourful dish. The chicken was well seasoned and generously coated in the Szechuan sauce. The heat was subtle, providing a chilli kick, without assaulting the palate. The peppers added a crunchy texture and overall was an enjoyable dish.
Lobster is a delicate and exquisite crustacean and although the dish was very enjoyable, the delicate lobster meat flavour was masked against the crispy coating. The small amount of elixir which settled at the bottom of the plate was simply devine and further enhanced the flavour.
The steamed Wagyu Beef Dumpling topped with caviar was well seasoned with the natural umami taste of the Wagyu beef flavour coming through with each bite and complimented the silky smoothness of the dough. This single parcel of delicate meaty goodness was a surprise hit.
If you are a lover of sashimi, you will not be disappointed with this platter.
The Wagyu Steak with black pepper sauce had a golden brown and well charred outer layer, sliced into thin pieces, revealing a beautifully medium rare centre, with scatters of sea salt allowing you to adjust the seasoning to your preference. The steak was cooked perfectly, pink and juicy in the centre with a slight crispy charred skin. The skin was unfortunately slightly on the oily side. I
The Lamb with Szechuan sauce was a dainty and elegant dish in appearance with the bones perfectly ‘frenched’, presented upright with a side of Szechuan sauce and lime wedge. Each cutlet was of a generous thickness, and cutting through revealed a juicy pink centre, much to our delight.
The Wagyu Tarter was visually minimalist with an intriguing addition of Chinese pear. Preparation of the Wagyu tarter occurred table-side; with the egg and Chinese pear mixed with the meat. Wagyu tarter is somewhat a delicacy for halal consumers as it is rare to come across. It is also one of those dishes which will either agree or disagree with your palate. As much as we appreciated the delicacy, in our case, the latter was true.
For drinks we ordered the Chai Wu Beauty and Berries Garden, both from the non-alcholic cocktail section. The Chai Wu Beauty, just as its name was a beauty. The prominent flavour was lychee and was a refreshing and inspiring concoction owing to the addition of condense milk, which was a fitting accompaniment to a delicate and refined meal. The Berries Garden, although refreshing and light, did not achieve the same lasting impression as the Chai Wu Beauty.
There is a saying that when visiting Beijing there are two things one must do; visit the great wall of China and eat Beijing Roast Duck. When it comes to visiting Harrods for your culinary delectation, there are two things one must do; visit Chai Wu and order their Beijing Roast Duck, which was undeniably the highlight of our meal and one of those dishes that will forever leave a lasting impression, not only because it was sumptuously delicious but also because of its rarity to halal consumers. That combined with their extensive menu, boasting some unique delicacies that are not an every day encounter for halal consumers, is what makes Chai Wu an exclusive and memorable experienc.
Disclaimer: We were invited to review Chai Wu.