Who, what, when, where:
Pan Chai at Harrods - a pan-Asian restaurant located in Harrods' food hall in Knightsbridge, specializing in Southeast Asian cuisine and, in particular, sushi. I visited two weeks ago with Udita, my best friend, who recently moved to London and happens to live nearby. (We somehow managed to re-enact our Mango Tree experience, whereby I waited for her to leave work by killing time in the Zara adjacent to Harrods before finding my dream item and nearly being late because of the long line, and then getting subsequently lost in the maze of beautiful, sparkly rooms in Harrods - but that's a story for another time.)
What to order:
Pan Chai's signature sushi rolls. We tried the "Black Dragon" (tiger prawn tempura, cucumber and avocado roll with caviar and unagi sauce) and the "Harrods Special" (fresh snow crab, avocado and spicy mayonaise roll, topped with chopped seared scallops, orange and black caviar and spring onions). The Harrods Special gave me pause when I popped a bite into my mouth: thrilling flavors and beautifully executed. It tasted indulgent and very, very special.
Udita put in a request for salmon sashimi, which arrived artfully arranged in a rose and topped with salmon roe.
The stir-fried seafood noodle arrived a few moments later, with jumbo prawns, scallops, clams, asparagus and teriyaki sauce - all served with matcha noodles (I totally ordered this dish for the matcha noodles). Totally extravagant, but so incredibly tasty. I joked to Udita that it was the type of food I'd love to order to my room if I had a penthouse suite above Harrods - the ultimate, most luxurious takeout that could really be enjoyed with a crisp glass of white wine (which we had) in front of Netflix.
The teriyaki sauce used for the stir-fried noodles was unlike any other I've tried. It had a flavor I couldn't quite put my finger on: slightly similar to peanut butter, but not as cloying and strong. In any case, it was so tasty, I practically hoovered every last asparagus spear in the bowl.
Though desserts aren't on the menu, we ended the evening with hot cups of jasmine tea before venturing over to the food hall for gourmet cupcakes to-go, just to satisfy our sweet tooths.
Where to sit:
Toward the middle of the bar (we sat on the end, so we'd have some peace and quiet to also catch up and plan for our exciting trip to India in a few weeks' time) so you can catch the sushi chefs in action amongst the open-plan kitchen. Swivel the other way on your stool, and it's also a great place for people-watching!
When to go:
Like the previously reviewed Mango Tree, Pan Chai is the perfect place to stop for a mid-shopping break - but it's an even better end-of-the-week treat. While it's definitely more upscale than your usual sushi dinner date, the luxurious ingredients and unique menu make it feel like a real experience. (Plus, you're surrounded by great shopping opportunities! How could anyone say no?! Well, maybe my bank account ...)
Udita and I were guests of Pan Chai, Harrods. All opinions are my own.