There was once a time when dining in a department store was considered inferior to restaurant dining. How times have changed! They’ve in recent years seriously stepped up their game. I was recently invited to Pan Chai, a pan-asian restaurant located on the ground floor Harrods food hall. This place put a whole new decadent spin on department store dining.
I’ll be honest, being vegetarian sushi is not usually my first port of call when the tummy grumbles. This was the perfect opportunity to rectify this situation and experience the delicate tastes of the Far East. So straight after work I hot footed it down to Knightsbridge to meet Shirin for an evening of sushi and sake.
The counter bar restaurant takes on a sleek and modern design. Its 22 marble and leather stool bar stools fringe the open plan kitchen, providing hungry diners with an eagle eye view of the masterful sushi and sashimi making chefs.
The bountiful menu will leave you spoilt for choice – sushi, sashimi, hot grilled dishes, salads, tempura, ramen and platters. Supping on a delicious glass of premier plum sake (£14.85) and snacking on my favourite salted edamame made the task a whole lot easier.
I’m not usually a sake drinker but this particular variety was smooth and sweet on the palette. More like a dessert wine, but I liked it. Definitely opened my eyes or should I say tastebuds to the Japanese rice wine.
My pan-asian journey continued with traditional Japanese avocado rolls accompanied with gari (pickled ginger) and wasabi (£11.80). It didn’t take long for the eight pieces to disappear – simple and moreish.
Shirin couldn’t resist the sound of the Pan Chai signature sushi roll of Black Dragon. It came as an eight piece too made from tiger prawn tempura, cucumber, avocado roll and topped with caviar and unagi sauce (£19.50).
The presentation and creativity that goes behind these dishes will really knock your socks off. Almost too pretty to eat, but in the name of food-tasting we managed!
My main course of tofu steak (£19.50) had me in true veggie heaven. The deep-fried tofu steak was crispy on the outside and silky smooth inside. It was combined with perfectly cooked asparagus and drizzled with a sweet teriyaki sauce. The mere thought still makes me salivate and has me wondering when I can go savour the taste again.
There was also the glazed and grilled salmon teriyaki served also with asparagus, salmon caviar and fresh lime (£28.80). Shirin was ‘oohing and ahhing’ so much that I half feared her going full When Harry Met Sally.
Pan Chai sadly doesn’t serve desserts. I could have done with ending the proceedings on a sweet note. A steamed custard bun? Mochi? Matcha ice cream? Dammit just something sweet would have been perfect. Nevermind – Instead we consoled ourselves with champagne cocktails which if I’m honest went down rather well.
The service was impeccable and friendly, exactly what you’d expect when dining in such a luxurious department store. Prices maybe on the high side but when you take into account the quality of the produce and the generous portion sizes, you can see why. This is the Rolls Royce of the sushi world. Then again you are at Harrods!
Have you ever experienced the Harrods food hall and do you have a favourite Southeast asian dish? Let me know in the comments below.
Pan Chai | Harrods Food Hall | Ground Floor | 87-135 Brompton Road |Knightsbridge | London | SW1X 7XL
Disclaimer: Our meal for two was complimentary, however, all views, opinions and photos are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie.
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