When I think about Harrods and food, the Food Hall on the ground floor and The Georgian on the fourth floor are what spring to mind initially. But there is more to the Harrods dining experience if you look closer.

On the fifth floor there is Chai Wu, a restaurant that has been inspired by the five elements in Chinese philosophy: wood, fire, earth, metal and water, which I was invited to review.Chai Wu, Harrods

Lunch started with a glass of Champagne and was followed soon after by …

Chai Wu at Harrods

… Wagyu puffs amuse-bouche, which set the note for a promising meal ahead. It went without saying that the third puff would have to be shared.

Chai Wu at Harrods

Everything we tried from the sashimi platter …

Chai Wu at Harrods

… to the sushi was enjoyed thoroughly.

Chai Wu at Harrods

But it was the Chilean sea bass with champagne and honey that piqued my tastebuds the most. The delicate flavours that came with my favourite fish was an absolute pleasure.

Chai Wu at Harrods

And of course with the right glass of wine, I had ended up wishing that this was dinner rather than lunch so I could sit back and not have to think about going anywhere so soon.

Chai Wu at Harrods

The OH ordered the Beijing duck which served two courses. The first involved fresh pancakes with cucumber, spring onions & hoi sin sauce and mantou buns with pickled radish, cucumber & plum sauce. The mantou buns were the perfect way to enjoy the Beijing duck. I’m not sure I could go back to pancakes after this experience.

The rest of the duck went into the second course which was a choice between minced duck with lettuce wrap or duck fried rice. The OH chose the latter for his second duck course, which he took away with him after being left so satisfied by his first course.

Chai Wu at Harrods

Finally, we were treated to a selection of chocolate and green tea desserts. I don’t know how I managed to tear myself away from here to carry on with my day but I finally did. And not before a farewell to the kind and friendly staff who made us feel very welcome.

Chai Wu at Harrods

If you’re looking to escape the crowds in Harrods, Chai Wu feels like a sanctuary. It’s definitely somewhere you can escape to while enjoying the great pan-Asian flavours from the menu.

Chai Wu, Harrods, 87–135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL.

Last week I took a stroll through Chinatown as I headed towards Soho and to Yauatcha …

Chinatown

… The reason for my visit was to review Yauatcha’s special Chinese New Year menu that celebrates the brand new Year of the Monkey.

The monkey represents wisdom and is considered to be a flexible sign especially as it resembles humans the most. People born under the sign of the monkey are considered to be energetic by nature, charismatic, loyal and are seen to have leadership. So on this note, with a cheeky monkey year to look forward to, I was excited to try Yauatcha’s latest menu.

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

I’ve always thought there was one floor to Yauatcha but this time we were seated downstairs, which I loved. There is a bar with an in-built aquarium down here and the stylish interior was complimented by the very relaxed atmosphere. There’s definitely something about the restaurants in the Hakkasan Group that makes them easy places to lose any sense of time as you indulge …

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… and their menus are also a good reason to linger.

The meal started with foie gras and roast duck puffs …

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… which I enjoyed as I sipped my Pink Kumquat cocktail with Monkey 47 sloe gin, Diplomatico Reserva rum, Domaine de Cantone ginger liqueur, cranberries and rice syrup. Gorgeous! Chinese New Year at Yautcha

The puffs were then followed by caviar taro dumplings and … Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… caviar siew long buns, which surprise you with a burst of soup when you bite into it.

ChinatownThe Yauatcha scallop yusheng with radish, Japanese seaweed, grapefruit, pomegranate, pumpkin and mushroom arrived at the table looking quite artistic …

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… before it was expertly mixed up and served onto our plates.

Chinatown

My second cocktail was the Saffron Gin and Tonic, which …

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… I enjoyed with the Hakka fortune pot, which comes with prawn, abalone, dried scallops, roast duck, seabass, lotus root, Chinese leaves and mushroom.

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

To accompany this feast, we also had the dried oyster fried sticky rice with dried shrimp. I savoured every mouthful.

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

Finally, the macarons arrived and admittedly I snapped these and ate them later. The gin and tonic macaron with Monkey 47 gin, grapefruit pâte de fruits and tonic buttercream was divine as were the juniper berry and camomile buttercream macarons. Light, full of flavour and the buttercream fillings take these macarons to another level.

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

Overall I had a fantastic time at Yauatcha. The service was great and the food and cocktails were wonderful as ever. If the Year of the Monkey is going to be anything like this menu then all I can say is, bring it on! 🙂

Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick St, London W1F 0DL

Disclaimer: The meal was complimentary for the purpose of the review and it doesn’t sway the fact that it was a gorgeous meal all-round.

Chelsea Girl

It’s been a while since I thought about my first holiday without my family. I was seventeen when I hopped on a plane to Greece one summer in between studying for my A-levels, along with one of my best friends and her older sister. It was two weeks of partying, meeting folks from all around, and spending hours lounging on the beach.

Flash forward to many years later and now with a child of my own and a business, sophistication springs to mind as I walk down the stairs and into Hakkasan Hanway’s beautiful restaurant.
Hakkasan Hanway Ling Ling Menu

The reason for my visit is to review Hakkasan’s new Ling Ling menu which is “inspired by the izakaya concept made popular in the East.” The Ling Ling experience is all about smaller Cantonese plates which take you from dinner to dancing.

This is made easy by the soundtrack that fills the restaurant, which is both relaxing and upbeat. It makes you feel like you could be sitting at a beach bar in Sydney or Italy. But in this case, the destination in mind is Mykonos where Hakkasan have recently opened an open-air restaurant and bar also called Ling Ling.

And if the music wasn’t enough to transport you to an outdoor bar on a Mediterranean island, the Ling Ling signature cocktail will help you on this journey. As I sipped it I had to ask myself, how does a drink do that? How does it transport you somewhere else, somewhere different? I’ve always loved Hakkasan’s cocktails but this gin-based cocktail is truly something else. It’s more than the elderflower, cranberry or any of the ingredients. It is the whole experience, the taste, the aroma that made me feel I could be sitting on a beach.

Hakkasan Hanway Ling Ling Menu

As for the rest of the set menu, there is a choice of Fish & Seafood, Meat & Seafood and Vegetarian. I opted for the meat and seafood menu because I wanted to try this trio of dim sum platter. Impeccable. Wonderful as ever.

Hakkasan Hanway Ling Ling Menu

I also wanted to try the jasmine tea smoked organic pork rib which was beautiful. The smoky flavour gave the ribs a fresh off the barbecue feel whilst the succulent, fall off the bone, meat indicated the care and time these ribs spent cooking.

Hakkasan Hanway Ling Ling Menu

For the main course I had the spicy prawn with lily bulb and almond with steamed jasmine rice, which I really enjoyed. But if you’re not keen on your food being too spicy, you might want to try the grilled Chilean seabass in honey or stir-fry black pepper vegetarian chicken from the other menus.

Hakkasan Hanway Ling Ling Menu

For all of the menus, the meal ends with a selection of macarons which I enjoyed – with a soya flat white to accompany.
Hakkasan Hanway Ling Ling Menu

And as I finished my lunch and headed back up the stairs to Tottenham Court Road, it did cross my mind that perhaps it’s time I go back to Greece. After all if the Ling Ling menu is anything to go by, Hakkasan in Mykonos will be amazing.

Hakkasan Hanway Ling Ling Menu

This menu is available at Hakkasan Hanway and Hakkasan Mayfair until 31st August 2015.

Chelsea Girl

Last week I popped into Soho for an afternoon catch-up where Alix and I enjoyed Yauatcha’s fantastic cocktails. I had the Cha la lai which includes Belvedere vodka, black grapes, oolong tea, apple juice and Champagne whilst …
Afternoon Tea at Yautcha Soho

… Alix had the Guava Bellini.

Afternoon Tea at Yautcha Soho

And it dawned on me how ideal dim sum is for a mid-afternoon treat. Light, tasty and perfect for sharing, I’m starting to see it as an alternative to afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea at Yautcha Soho

And even though we are in the middle of summer I loved seeing the steaming small plates arrive. Maybe it evokes the familiar feeling of home cooking (albeit a Michelin starred feeling) or perhaps it is the sense of freshness as well as quality that presides over each dish as it arrives; swiftly reassured by every first bite into each dumpling. Afternoon Tea at Yautcha Soho

But by the time dessert arrives, in this case the raspberry delice with raspberry, Madirofolo chocolate, lychee, I remember what a special place Yauatcha is. For example, slicing into this cake is encountering chocolate heaven. Every mouthful is culinary bliss and it is difficult to leave it unfinished. That would be a sin.
Afternoon Tea at Yautcha SohoLocated in the heart of Soho, Yauatcha’s stylish dining room has a laid back atmosphere that is matched by impeccable service. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I last visited.

Chelsea Girl

Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0DL

Disclaimer: I was Alix’s guest for this delicious catch-up. Thank you Alix! x

On 19th February we’ll be moving into the year of the Sheep as the Chinese celebrate their new year. A good excuse to celebrate without the hangover of Christmas, I’ve always loved the idea that we are given another chance to see in another new year. It’s almost as if in case January didn’t go so well, we have another chance to start all over again and set ourselves on the right course for the next 12 months. How wonderful.

Ahead of time, a friend and I visited Hakkasan to feast on their Chinese New Year menu and to experience their wishing tree, which did leave me with a glow in my heart as the food cast its culinary spell.

Stepping into the basement on Hanway Place with the incense aroma drifting up the staircase, I have always loved Hakkasan’s sumptuous interior.

hakkasanFlashforward, we were late in for lunch and the last ones out which gave me a chance to snap this photo. Hakkasan is a place where you can easily lose yourself for hours.

hakkasan

As for celebrating the new year, the idea of the wishing tree is to write your wishes on this card which then hangs along with many others on one of the  latticed woodwork cages that are the main features of the restaurant.hakkasan

There is also a special new year’s cocktail which includes Germana cachaça, Campari, kumquats, orange juice and lime. Very refreshing and delicious too.
hakkasan

For our lunch, we decided on the set menu which started off with three plates of small eats.

Golden fried soft shell crab,
starter

Spicy lamb lupin wrap,hakkasan

And the Dim Sum platter (which I can’t seem to get enough of).hakkasan

The mains included spicy prawn with lily bulb and almond,hakkasan

Stir-fry black pepper rib eye beef with Merlot,

hakkasan

Stir-fry lily bulb and garlic shoot,

hakkasan

Grilled Chilean seabass in honey (which was easily the best sea bass I have ever tasted in my life),

hakkasan

And abalone and dry scallop fried rice.
hakkasan

All washed down with a delicious glass of Sancerre.hakkasan

Dessert arrived … hakkasan

With the Wishing Tree from which hung two chocolate, caramelised macadamia, cocoa rocks.hakkasanWhat struck me about this menu was its unpredictability when tasting most of the dishes. Whether it was the beautiful texture of the sea bass or the spices in a couple of the dishes, it was great to try something that had a sense of newness about the meal. As for the classic feel of the dim sum starter, this dish is so good it would be a sin to leave it out.

hakkasanSo here is raising a glass to the year of the Sheep. The Sheep is associated with being gentle and calm, which I very much like the sound of!

*On Sunday 22nd February as part of the restaurant’s Chinese New Year celebration, lion troupes will make their way through the restaurant. The lion dance will symbolise luck, fortune, wisdom and joy for all the restaurant’s customers to enjoy.

This meal was complimentary for the purpose of the review. But hand on heart, my opinion has not been influenced. I enjoyed every morsel and sip during my afternoon; easily the highlight of my week so far.

Chelsea Girl

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