Nasty Encounters Of The Blogging Kind, Part 2

Nasty Encounters Of The Blogging Kind, Part 2: HOW I DEALT WITH RIDICULOUS DEMANDS FROM A BRAND AND A PR COMPANY


BLOGGER HOW-TO: HOW I DEALT WITH RIDICULOUS DEMANDS FROM A BRAND AND A PR COMPANY 
November 30, 2016

Nasty Encounters Of The Blogging Kind, Part 2

BLOGGER HOW-TO: HOW I DEALT WITH RIDICULOUS DEMANDS FROM A BRAND AND A PR COMPANY 

Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods


FEELING FESTIVE WITH THE CHAI WU CHRISTMAS MENU


All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth...and my passport back in time for me to join my annual family trip, this year in Reykjavik. Unfortunately, both the Home Office and Santa's workshop take the same amount of time to make a little girl's wishes come true ie. a whole friggin' year because the odds of me traipsing about Iceland with Rudolph & Co in just over a week's time are as slim as the chance of a white winter in London. I bear no grudge toward the big red guy (although I'm a tad exasperated by bureaucratic red tape), after all as a sometimes-Atheist-mostly-Agnostic-Asian my claim to Christmas celebrations goes as far as opening every window of my beauty advent calendar on the 1st and Bucks Fizz benders on the 25th.

I'm surprisingly sanguine about the prospect of spending Christmas on my ownsome. Christmas is about food, family, and fighting. The latter two, I'll get my fix of the week before Christmas when my family make their way to me in London (which I'll no doubt milk by nudging them towards the Prada concession in Harrods *cough* consolation present *cough*) and the former, I can get my fix of with Chai Wu's Christmas Menu - seasonal dishes with a delightful Chinese twist. So Santa, put me on your naughty list for all I care - I see your minced pies and raise you the Chai Wu scallops and foie gras in red wine sauce.

 CHAI WUHARRODS FIFTH FLOOR, KNIGHTSBRIDGE
87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

You know from my previous review of Chai Wu that this glossy Pan-Asian restaurant serves up luxurious Chinese and Japanese favourites with a literal Midas touch (gold leaf-flaked dim sum, anyone?) so I was as curious as anyone to see their tribute to the festive season. It seems that as far as flavours go, the references are subtle - such as the deliciously dense black pepper turkey roll, while the focus is rather on that hearty, homey feeling of Christmas dinner. Hence a creamy starter of avocado lobster soup topped with fish roe in a delicate glass bowl, hinting at the refinement to follow. The scallops and foie gras in red wine sauce brought glamour and decadence. The star dish was the Chilean sea bass, the skin perfectly pan-fried with the most moreish yellow bean sauce begging to be mopped up with the accompanying rice. Even humbler dishes, like the baby pak choi and egg fried rice were elevated with rich ingredients; the former with silky shiitake mushrooms in oyster sauce and the latter with bits of scallop.


CHRISTMAS MENU
£88 per person, minimum for 2

Avocado Lobster Soup 
Black Pepper Turkey Roll 
Scallops and Foie Gras in a Red Wine Sauce 
Pan-Fried Chilean Sea Bass with Spicy Yellow Bean Sauce
Shiitake Mushrooms and Baby Pak Choi in Oyster Sauce
Egg White Fried Rice with Dry Scallops and Mixed Seafood
Dark Chocolate Orange Fondant


Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

Desserts at Chai Wu are always a gorgeous and elaborate affair. The Christmas special is no different - the dark chocolate orange fondant mercifully had none of that cloying chocolate orange sickliness (its popularity amongst the Brits will forever remain, to me, a great mystery) but rather a thick, rich, warm sauce that oozed with all the sensuality of a good pudding. 

I made two curious observations; one: that the meal began on a distinctively Western note, and two: that despite the rather traditional Chinese home-cooking style of the other dishes, the Christmas menu evoked just the right amount of homeliness with none of the 'dated' feeling. For yours truly, that rare Overseas Chinese expatriate who eschews simple Chinese home-cooking for more time consuming-to prepare dishes such as duck pancakes, it's a compliment to Chai Wu for finding the right balance between comfort food and contemporary cuisine.

I invited Honey to join me at Chai Wu for a long overdue catchup. A seven-dish Christmas menu turned into a nearly-four hour long meal; partly because the dishes were so delicious that they begged our full attention, partly because we had so much to say in between courses, and partly thanks to the libations. As per my suggestions Honey had the signature champagne cocktail - Chai Wu Fizz - while I whet my palate with a sake cocktail I believe to be called the Gold Miyagi. And then there was the tea. So much tea - and I'm not only talking about the herbal variety but also about the jaw-dropping, scandalous variety. After what seemed like an endless and delicious wave of 'Oh my God!'s and 'They did NOT!'s the drama was punctuated with perfect comedic timing when the ever-attentive staff asked, 'Ladies, would you like some tea?' WOULD WE! The Jasmine Blossoming (how appropriate) flowering tea was a wonderful refreshing note to the end of a decadent meal and equally juicy conversation.

The Chai Wu Christmas Menu is Chinese comfort-food with the restaurant's signature luxury - 
a mix of traditional and Western dishes with seasonal references.
Just the thing then, for homesick me in London, pining for the feel-good factor of Christmas.
The Chai Wu Christmas Menu is available till the end of December, and is £88 per person.

Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods
Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

*Our meal at Chai Wu was complimentary in exchange for this review.

November 28, 2016

Christmas Menu at Chai Wu, Harrods

FEELING FESTIVE WITH THE CHAI WU CHRISTMAS MENU All I want for Christmas...

Why the Fiat 500 is the Perfect City Car


Why The Fiat 500 is the perfect city car
November 21, 2016

Why the Fiat 500 is the Perfect City Car

West London: Chelsea, South Kensington, & Notting Hill



FROM CHELSEA TO NOTTING HILL VIA SOUTH KENSINGTON:
A WEST LONDON DAYTRIP, POWERED BY THE FIAT500

POSH, BROKE, & BORED x FIAT: Part 1 of 2
November 16, 2016

West London: Chelsea, South Kensington, & Notting Hill

FROM CHELSEA TO NOTTING HILL VIA SOUTH KENSINGTON: ...

Summertime Sadness

October 11, 2016

Summertime Sadness

Bangkok, Thailand: Sweet & Spicy

FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016


FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND
October 08, 2016

Bangkok, Thailand: Sweet & Spicy

FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 3 Hidden Gems in Petaling Street

CHOCHA FOOD STORE, MERCHANT'S LANE, and PS150 - the three new watering holes bringing an old-school but young-blood revival to Jalan Petaling in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown.





SPEAKEASY, BUT CARRY NO SELFIE STICK - THE REVIVAL OF KUALA LUMPUR'S 
CHINATOWN THANKS TO 3 NEW HIDDEN WATERING HOLES
October 06, 2016

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 3 Hidden Gems in Petaling Street

SPEAKEASY, BUT CARRY NO SELFIE STICK - THE REVIVAL  OF KUALA LUMPUR'S  CHINATOW...

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016
October 03, 2016

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Kuala Lumpur: Botanica + Co, Bangsar South

 Botanica + Co, Bangsar South


CONSERVATORY CHIC AT BOTANICA + CO, BANGSAR SOUTH

Of all the erroneous assumptions my Western friends make about me, the one that most defies logic is that I should adore heat and humidity or at the very least be accustomed to it. Let me break it down for you - One: Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, Two: By that reasoning, why do you gwai los complain about the cold in winter? Three: Malaysians drive their air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned offices then to air-conditioned watering holes and finally back to their air-conditioned homes. So no, my experience of the searing tropics is limited to the three and a half minutes the valet makes me wait for my car, and my love for all things tropical is best appreciate in the chilly confines of an air-conditioned space. It's the only way to admire palms and fronds without being eaten by Aedes mosquitos, really...

So when I got wind (like an air-con breeze, haha) of a fresh botanics-inspired restaurant arrival housed in an air-conditioned greenhouse, I made my way to the new-ish township of Bangsar South in search of Botanica + Co.

September 25, 2016

Kuala Lumpur: Botanica + Co, Bangsar South

CONSERVATORY CHIC AT BOTANICA + CO, BANGSAR SOUTH Of all the erroneous assumptio...

Kuala Lumpur: Breakfast Thieves, Bangsar

Breakfast Thieves, Kuala Lumpur's hot new brunch spot, makes its way to Malaysia from Melbourne
Breakfast Thieves, Kuala Lumpur's hot new brunch spot, makes its way to Malaysia from Melbourne
STEALING GLANCES AND TAKING BITES AT 
BREAKFAST THIEVES, BANGSAR

There's a name for the international design language of post-social media cool - reclaimed Industrial chic juxtaposed against Calacatta marble, mason jars, and fiddle leaf figs - the hipster aesthetic of which is designed (that is, according to Kyle Chayka's piece for The Guardian) as a soothing balm for the "wealthy, mobile elite" who want their 'authentic and off the beaten track' with a side of wifi. Chayka calls it AirSpace, and bemoans this globalised style as homogenous. Personally? Hey, if it keeps my Instagram feed neat... In all seriousness though, I'm all for the world being a smaller place especially when said globalisation manifests itself in the form of delicious, delicious brunch.

And apart from the New Yorkers nobody does brunch like the 'Strayans. Cafe culture has spread like bushfire in Malaysia thanks to the country's relative proximity to the Antipodes. My second favourite* entity to arrive from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur is the second branch of the new Bangsar café that's got all the Instagrammers and brunch hunters excited - Breakfast Thieves.

*my most favourite is arriving today. Boomchickawahwaahhh

September 23, 2016

Kuala Lumpur: Breakfast Thieves, Bangsar

Breakfast Thieves, Kuala Lumpur's hot new brunch spot, makes its way to Malaysia f...

Min Jiang, South Kensington

Min Jiang: authentic Chinese food in South Kensington, London

"Welcome, esteemed guests from five lands and four seas, to gather as friends for various delicacies"

MIN JIANG
Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London

________

Mandarin is a language so fluid and multi-faceted that if you ask several different speakers with even the slightest variation of fluency among themselves to translate, each one will give you a different interpretation. Above is my understanding of the couplet that greets guests in Chong Qing - the striking, glossy-red private dining room of Min Jiang - but then again, native Mandarin speakers have diplomatically described my comprehension ability as 'adorably foreign'. Oh dear.

However, a concept that is not alien to this Overseas Chinese Malaysian-now British expat is the comfort of authentic Chinese cooking in a foreign land. A surefire indication of such a establishment is, as is the case with Min Jiang on Kensington High Street, is a chorus of various Chinese accents: I heard the baritones of husky Mainland accents, the clear altos of the Taiwanese; the curious, sometimes soprano-like drawls of the Malaysian Chinese, with Cantonese cadenzas peppering the symphony.

That overture raised the brocade curtain on a gorgeous meal for four at 'London's most authentic Chinese restaurant'.

September 20, 2016

Min Jiang, South Kensington

"Welcome, esteemed guests from five lands and four seas, to gather as...

Orlando, Florida: Universal Studios Florida


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LIFE IMITATES ART: CINEMATIC MAGIC AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA
September 12, 2016

Orlando, Florida: Universal Studios Florida

LIFE IMITATES ART: CINEMATIC MAGIC AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA