As a blogger, you know you’re going to enjoy your experience when you turn up to a restaurant, give your name and get, “Oh, you’re the journalist!”. Last week I was invited along to review Pan-Asian restaurant Pan Chai, which is situated in the luxurious Harrods Food Halls and was greeted with this remark, which quite frankly, made my night. Anyway, enough about my ego…
Pan Chai is part of the Mango Tree restaurant group – I reviewed their Victoria restaurant last year and as the name suggests, you’ll find food from across Asia on their menu. As it’s located in the food halls of Harrods, it’s counter seating and you can watch the chefs creating sushi and sashimi dishes in front of you. It really took me back to our holiday in Japan last year.
I took my friend Holly along as my dinner guest and we decided on a bottle of Sancerre with a 2015 vintage. Usually I drink sparkling wine (either prosecco or champagne) but we had arrived a bit early for our reservation and had a glass of Savingnon blanc in one of the bars in Harrods so I thought it best to stick to white. I love Sancerre and the wine was a perfect accompaniment to our dishes.
Whilst we had a look through the menu, we nibbled on edamame. They serve two kinds of edamame – one with sea salt and one that’s spicy. We chose both and the spicy edamame really did have a kick! I do love a bit of spice and whilst this was fairly hot, it wasn’t overly spicy. I was expecting it to have a chilli salt, but actually it was a spicy sauce which was a pleasant surprise.
There’s such a variety of dishes on the menu that we asked our waitress Chabeli what she recommended and she suggested ordering the Omekase Platter as a starter. It’s a selection of sashimi, sushi and sushi rolls and is chosen by the chef. It’s a great dish to order as you get to watch the chef preparing it. Head Chef Seong Hee Won explained the various types of fresh fish that he was using – salmon, tuna and yellowtail whilst he was preparing it as well as chatting with us.
The Omekase Platter is beautifully presented on a wooden platter in the shape of a bridge, which is very Japanese! Pan Chai takes great pride in how their dishes are presented and it shows.
I just love the detail – the avocado reminded me of the tail of an exotic bird and the flowers added an aesthetic touch.
Chef Seong Hee explained that the rolled sashimi with roe on the top were to be eaten with our fingers and not chop sticks, as demonstrated by Holly. They were very delicate as well as appetising. Alongside the pickled ginger and the bright green wasabi we’re all used to, there was also fresh wasabi, which I’d never seen (or eaten before). It was slightly hotter than the normal wasabi so use sparingly. The platter was a great choice and we thoroughly enjoyed both the theatre in the preparation of it as well as the taste.
I absolutely love tempura, even if it’s not the healthiest of choices! Holly spotted the spicy squid tempura on the menu and we had to try it. It was perfect – crispy with just a touch of spice. My only complaint was that there wasn’t more! Luckily there was still another course to be had….
Our last dish of the night was probably one of the most decadent on the menu – Wagyu Beef Bulgogi, which is grilled sirloin wagyu beef with a Korean barbecue sauce, Japanese mushrooms and asparagus and served with a bowl of steamed rice. As the Head Chef is Korean, I knew this would be amazing and it didn’t disappoint! It was mouth-wateringly delectable. The Japanese mushrooms and asparagus were a perfect match for the tender beef and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Holly and I had a fabulous night at Pan Chai – the service was friendly and faultless, the wine flowed and the food was heavenly. I’d love to go back and take my husband (who was rather jealous I hadn’t taken him in the first place). I highly recommend it if you love Pan-Asian food. One thing to note is that the restaurant closes at 9pm, when Harrods closes, so make sure you leave enough time to enjoy the experience.
Our meal was complimentary in exchange for an honest review.