If you think that dropping into Harrods for a soothing, sophisticated bite sounds like a contradiction in terms, then think again.
Close your eyes as you glide up the gaudy Egyptian escalator rammed with selfie-stick waving tourists and breathe a deep sigh of relief when you reach the 5th floor. For there lies Chai Wu, a gorgeous haven of tranquillity in the midst of the Knightsbridge shopping madness.
Dimly lit with décor inspired by the five elements of Chinese philosophy; wood, fire, earth and metal and water, the restaurant has a restful, cool atmosphere. There’s a charcoal grill and sushi bar to show off the fine fresh ingredients on offer. But we were here for one thing only – to sample the Ladies Lunch menu – a multi-course extravaganza designed to give your face a treat while you eat.
What ? Yes, the extra-healthy zen menu includes several portions of edible collagen to boost the levels in your own ageing skin and rejuvenate you as you scoff. It also focusses on food bursting with keratin and protein.
After a couple of sips of a gorgeous dry light orange coloured rose champagne, we got down to business with the wheatgrass and avocado shots. Slightly sweet with the addition of condensed milk, they might not be to everyone’s taste but we did what we knew was good for us and necked them. We moved on to a little dish of edamame beans in a spicy prawn dressing that was savoury, salty and delicious.
A highlight was definitely the lobster and seabass dumpling, beautifully presented with caviar on top in a bamboo steamer. Feeling more and more zen by the moment, we enjoyed another stand-out dish in the form of the charcoaled salmon marinated in mandarin sauce. We’d worried that it would be too sweet but turned out to be a beautiful, tangy accompaniment.
There were a few fun quirks like the chicken and mushroom soup being presented in a clear teapot with a spoonful of edible collagen on the side. But the most intriguing was the ‘Edible lipstick’. Unsure of what to expect, we were treated to two little lipstick tubes filled with a delicious and refreshing sorbet.
Chai Wu is a civilised port in the hectic storm that is Harrods. And the ladies lunch menu was delicate, sophisticated and delicious. Enjoy the Chai Wu Ladies Lunch menu at Harrods for £70 per person for eight courses.