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.

A short while ago I revisited The Bloomsbury, a hotel which I used to consider to be one of the greatest hidden gems in the heart of London. The reason for my return was to visit The Bloomsbury Club Bar. I’ve always been a huge fan of this bar where I have tried some of the best cocktails in London.

Thing is, this place isn’t much of a secret now especially after its revamp – and I for one am very pleased.

We started the evening  inside, perched on stools, where we tried cocktails such as: The Roger Fry; Vanessa Bell; Duncan Grant; Desmond McCarthy; Lytton Strachey; and of course Virginia Woolf. As the various concoctions flowed, so did the stories. And each drink was as distinctive as the next. Conversations with the mixologists are definitely something I’d recommend here. You’ll be enraptured by what you hear.

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury HotelThe Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

After, we moved outside onto the terrace where the fairy lights sparkled and it felt like we were ensconced in our own private cocktail world. Here we heard more stories that inspired the other cocktails we tried: The Clive Bell; E.M Forster; John Maynard Keynes; Leonard Woolf, and still we were all enthralled while our tastebuds enjoyed a literary adventure of a lifetime.

Here is the full menu to give you the fuller flavours of The Bloomsbury Club Bar’s fantastic range of cocktails.

mixing

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The whole experience was wonderful as I would have expected. And all I can say is if you are in the West End looking for a bar that serves great cocktails and has a special atmosphere then I have no hesitation in recommending The Bloomsbury Club Bar. I’m just so pleased their secret is finally out and I’m so sure the Bloomsbury set would have had a most fabulous time here.

The Bloomsbury Club Bar, 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN.

Last night I watched Justin Krook’s I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. I happened upon it by accident as is the beauty of Netflix.

On the heels of The Get Down which I binged watched over the weekend from Friday, I was looking for something with either music or a love story at the heart of it. I wasn’t fussed what it was going to be. I just wanted something in the background as I made notes on the novel I’m writing. So when this documentary on the superstar DJ and music producer Steve Aoki started, I really didn’t know what I was in for.

You see, I’m stuck in a time warp. My book is inspired by the ’90s club scene and if there was anything I was getting excited about it was Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down: New York in the 70s and the history of hip hop with the legendary Grandmaster Flash thrown in? Yes, please!

But LA in the early 2000s, that wasn’t my scene so when watching I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead it was great to discover the world that Steve Aoki was responsible for through his label’s club nights: Dim Mak Tuesdays and Banana Split. And with the likes of Pete Tong, Diplo and will.i.am adorning Aoki with their respect, it’s difficult not to admire Aoki’s work ethic that makes you wonder if he is going to burn out anytime soon. It’s been 10 years and he still hasn’t.

Krook’s documentary doesn’t just follow Aoki around the world to parties in awe-inspiring places. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead also tells the story of Aoki’s background that was heavily influenced by his absent father, Rocky Aoki – the founder of the worldwide restaurant chain Benihana which can also be found on the King’s Road.

Whilst the documentary flagged up that I still haven’t visited Benihana, it also showed a man driven to prove his worth to his father. Rocky Aoki was a larger than life character; he was an adrenaline junkie and it’s not difficult to see that his son has a similar way of living.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead is a good documentary to watch if you love music; you don’t have to particularly like Aoki’s music but you can’t ignore his influence on the club scene over the years. It’s also a great watch because it shows us what you can achieve if you’re hungry enough to make your dream come true.

It’s almost time to go back to school and this weekend there are a few summertime must-dos coming to an end.

*Exhibitionism at Saatchi Gallery closes on Sunday 4th September and whether you’re a fan of The Rolling Stones or not I recommend anyone who loves music to go see this fantastic exhibition. I wrote  a little something about it back in May, which you can read here.

*Not so rock and roll but definitely one of my favourite stories when I was growing up; The Tiger Who Came To Tea finishes its run at Cadogan Hall on Sunday too. I took my three year old along over the bank holiday weekend and he had a great time. The extremely tall tiger was a delight to watch and the songs are fun and memorable. The production lasts 50 minutes and Cadogan Hall is always a great venue to visit.

* It’s also the last weekend to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Science Museum. At the start of summer I had every intention of checking this out but I fear I’m going to miss this one because time is running out. You can find out more about Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius here.

* The Great River Race takes place on Saturday. It starts at London Docklands at 12.25pm and makes its way towards Richmond; passing Westminster and Putney. The race is due to finish around 3.20pm.

* And if you’re planning on staying in and in need of something to binge-watch then head straight to Netflix and put Stranger Things on if you haven’t already. A love letter to classic 80s movies this is an exceptional series with plenty of twists; interesting characters; fantastic settings and a gripping story. Plus, it has Winona Ryder and classic 80s actor Matthew Modine in it. There’s a reason everyone’s talking about it. It’s brilliant.

One of the most iconic food places in London has to be Harrods Food Hall. It is a veritable feast for the eyes and tastebuds. So when I was invited to review Pan Chai, I accepted with glee.

I popped in for a working lunch. The atmosphere was buzzy as always and the staff seemed instantly warm and charming.

Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

We started our lunch with Champagne cocktails …

Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

… and for starters, I had the tempura dish …

Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

… while my guest had vegetarian sushi rolls. Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

We both thoroughly enjoyed the start of our lunch and when my main arrived, the excitement of the surprising spectacle matched the delightful freshness and flavours of this fantastic selection of sushi and sashimi.

Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

We were both intrigued about her tofu steak dish, which admittedly took a little longer than mine to arrive. But when it did, again we were pleasantly surprised and my guest was very impressed with her choice.

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Overall, I had a very satisfying lunch at Pan Chai. I enjoyed everything I tasted and loved the atmosphere. I can’t compare Pan Chai to the other offerings in the Harrods Food Hall but I can definitely recommend it if you’re after a contemporary Pan-Asian meal.

Chelsea Girl

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