Pan Chai, Harrods

August 09, 2016
Pan Chai, Harrods

We live in the age of speed, where the very fabric of existence seems so transient that our species is in a never ending race to contrive faster and more efficient ways of hurtling through life. For fear of missing out on what, I can't speak for humankind, but I can tell you that yesterday when I checked my local Pokémon Gym (a habit whenever I leave the house) and found it unoccupied I literally dashed down the street to claim it (Go, Team Mystic!). Sadly, by the time I arrived some snotty little upstart had already claimed it for their perky, grinning, shinypants leader (you know the one). So yes, despite what some lifestyle-purveyors (what is 'slow living' even...?) may have you believe, slow and steady doesn't always win the race, at least not in London. 
PAN CHAI gets it. PAN CHAI feels you. PAN CHAI understands the frantic Birkenstock-wearing scramble that follows the klaxon wail: "There's a Snorlax in that park over there!" (or maybe not). PAN CHAI appreciates that there has to be a Yin to their sister restaurant CHAI WU's Yang, an express option for the discerning diner who wants their luxurious Pan Asian cuisine and they want it now. PAN CHAI appreciates that there's no reason quality should be compromised for speed, so while their dishes come quick, they're a world apart from what you expect from fast food.

PAN CHAI • HARRODS FOOD HALL


Pan Chai, Harrods

Pan Chai, Harrods
The sweetness of the mango bellini is the perfect foil to the salt-flaked edamame.
Pan Chai, Harrods
Pan Chai, Harrods
The world-famous Harrods Food Halls is the very juxtaposition of time = luxury - what with its jaw-droppingly opulent surroundings inviting you to linger, if not for the impatient jab of shoppers as they jostle beside you for position at the food counters. The safest and sanest way to take it all in is from the comfort of its open-counter restaurants, where even the most hurried of shoppers can catch their breath to refuel while keeping their eye on the preceedings. It's only fitting, then, that PAN CHAI's corner begins with a glossy emerald-green column that extends upward and over into a modern parasol of sorts, as though shielding their diners from the gilded madness. 
I navigated through the throng and made it to one of the 22 marble and leather bar stools, where I hung my Prada on the discreet handbag hooks under the bar. Seated at the wraparound counter and facing the open-plan kitchen, I had an intimate audience with the chefs' handiwork as they prepared dishes with expertise and flourish. The chaos of my surroundings faded away with the dry-ice mist that accompanied my sushi and sashimi dishes - a mouth-watering selection of white fish sashimi and three of the best PAN CHAI Signature Sushi Rolls: the HARRODS SPECIAL (fresh snow crab, avocado and spicy mayonnaise roll topped with chopped seared scallops, orange and black caviar and spring onions), the BANZAI (lobster tempura, avocado, asparagus, spicy mayonnaise topped with orange and black caviar, unagi sauce), and the WAGYU BEEF MAKI ROLL (seared wagyu beef with cucumber, chives, asparagus and avocado roll, served with sweetened soya).

Pan Chai, Harrods

Sleight of hand: perhaps it's my inner-child speaking, but the theatrical wonders of mist will never fail to move me. 
I'd say there "wasn't a dry ice in the house" if one: it isn't such a weak pun, two: if it was actually true.
Isn't it just magical watching exquisite dishes come to life from humble (albeit superior) ingredients in deft hands?
Try this at home, kids: Pan Chai share their recipes with easy-to-follow, cheeky (Boom? BOOM) instructions.
*No guarantees that you'll transform into Jiro-san overnight

Pan Chai, Harrods
Pan Chai, Harrods
Pan Chai, Harrods
Pan Chai, Harrods
Pan Chai, Harrods

The dishes I had were as every bit as fresh, vibrant, flavourful, and well-presented as you'd come to expect from a lauded restaurant in a top-notch establishment such as Harrods. Happily, it seems that whether you're ensconced in an atmospheric bubble on the fifth floor (read my review of CHAI WU here) or tucked into a corner of the bustling Harrods Food Hall, the quality and attention to detail of PAN CHAI is not lost in the descend. It was a 'Fast & Furious' kind of evening for me, so I sampled the Signature Sushi Rolls, but diners looking for a main meal are spoilt for choice - Korean wagyu beef bolgogi is on the menu, as is a welcome representation from my native Malaysia (beef rendang). I'd happily recommend and reorder the the HARRODS SPECIAL, the BANZAI, and especially the WAGYU BEEF MAKI ROLL (the seared wagyu beef was to die for). Diners on a budget who want in on the magic are well-covered in the SET MENU, with a choice of 3 dishes including a Japanese starter, sushi rolls, and a meat dish for £45. Itadakimasu!

Pan Chai, Harrods



I was invited to review Pan Chai and my meal was complimentary. All opinions are my own, sou desu ne.

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