Those headed to Harrods for the winter sale might notice a shining new addition on the fifth floor. Modern Chinese restaurant Chai Wu – an elegant and opulent space for 90 guests, which opens its doors on Sunday January 18 (the last day of the sale) – is a new fine-dining concept in the department store’s now-29-strong restaurant portfolio. Featuring a menu created by chef Jason Seeming Wa the kitchen will be overseen by group executive chef and Asian-cuisine extraordinaire Ian Pengelley - he of E&O fame and who in the mid-noughties had his own namesake Asian restaurant just a dumpling’s throw away on Sloane Street.
Fans of Asian cuisine will delight in several traditional time-honoured favourites; Beijing duck, Alaskan king crab legs with soy glaze (first picture) and lotus root and lily bulb in spicy toban sauce are but some of the signature plates. Beautiful presentation is a focus, from a succulent baby poussin with spicy chilli lime dressing (third picture) and a colourful sweet and sour chicken served in dragon fruit to dim sum, such as BBQ wagyu and gold-leaf puffs and refined dragon-whiskers langoustine.
The restaurant also features a robata grill, where a selection of the finest meats, fish and vegetables can be grilled to order and prepared with a pick of accompanying sauces. Located front centre, the theatrical charcoal grill speaks to one part of Chai Wu’s underlying design, which took its cue from the five elements in Chinese philosophy – fire, wood, earth, metal and water. The result is a fantastic space with a luxurious mix of natural materials, including marble, leather and timber.
The restaurant is the third establishment in Harrods for owner Eddie Lim – following the arrival of Pan Chai and Mango Tree in 2012. “The food will be exotic, colourful and incredibly tasty,” he says.
Chai Wu is in good company up on the department store’s fifth floor (wu means “five” in Chinese), counting as neighbours the indulgent Urban Retreat and Shoe Heaven, plus premium brands such as Gucci, Valentino and Manolo Blahnik. With breakfast, lunch and dinner served at Chai Wu, the question is how to organise the rest of the day…?