If there ever was a restaurant that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, then Pan Chai is it. Located in the food halls of Harrods, this casual dining experience offers some taste sensations that I have never experienced before – and I wish I could go back again and again.
With its roots in Asia, Pan Chai offers a wide ranging menu of sushi, salads, ramen, tempura, grill dishes and more. You will be absolutely spoilt for choice and, if you’re anything like us, struggle to decide just what plates you want to try.
The location of this little gem is fairly public, but it certainly doesn’t feel so when you are seated at your booth and watching the chefs in action. The nimble and expert way in which they slice the fish, with knives that cut through it like butter and enable them to present it simply and elegantly on your plate. Naturally, each piece topped with a serving of caviar.
We were immediately seated on arrival and ordered our drinks, with a glass of Champagne and glass of wine served soon after. It was then that we were left to delve in to the delights of their wide ranging menu and decide which dishes we wanted to try.
I knew that I wanted to try the Spicy Squid Tempura (£20.50) but aside from that, in all honesty we fancied trying it all! So we left our decision to the manager who was serving us and he recommended several dishes that we were eager to try, including the Harrods Special which is not surprisingly one of their most popular dishes.
Order placed, we enjoyed our drinks for a while alongside a large portion of Edameme (£5.50) which were heavily, but perfectly, seasoned with rock salt and delicious to taste.
The first dish to arrive was the Omekase Plater (£48.00ea) which I am sure you will agree is a delight to the eyes. The colour of the fish itself was mesmerising, each piece brighter than the last and just as tantalisingly tasty. With sashimi, sushi, tamago and sushi rolls this platter certainly covered all basis and was a great introduction to what Pan Chai had to offer. We were advised to leave the Tamago, a type of Japanese omelette, until last due to its slightly sweeter taste and it was the perfect complimentary piece to the rest of the platter.
The Harrods Special (£24.50) featured fresh snow crab, avocado, orange and black caviar and seared scallops. From the moment I placed a piece in my mouth it was immediately obvious why this plate is so popular, it was absolutely and incredibly delicious. So much so that I didn’t want to eat it all, for fear of not having any left! With a slight crunch and warm filling this dish was fresh, tasty and the combination of ingredients was perfection personified.
We followed this with the Salmon Skin Maki (£21.50) which was equally as delicious, again with a slight crunch due to the crispy salmon skin and paired with spring onions and dry salmon flakes. Most dishes were also paired with a spicy mayonnaise which was a fantastic accompaniment, alongside a big dish of soy sauce of course.
Also gracing our plates was the Black Dragon (£19.50) which was filled with tiger prawn tempura, unagi sauce and cucumber.
After we had enjoyed far too much sushi we moved on to Pan Chai’s selection of grill dishes. We immediately selected the Rendang Daging (£25.80) and were expertly recommended the Grilled Plum Sea Bass (£32.00) also, alongside a dish of Sushi Rice (£5.50).
As you would expect the Rendang was cooked to perfection, with tender pieces of beef and a slightly hot flavour – this paired perfectly with the rice which was seasoned with Japanese Vinegar. But the sea bass, oh the sea bass. Never have I seen such a meaty, large portion of sea bass that cuts like butter and melts in your mouth. I really cannot explain how well cooked this piece of fish was, with the plum sauce providing a sweet after taste with every mouthful.
I feel I have run out of adjective to describe just how delicious every dish, plate and piece of food we devoured at Pan Chai was. Never have I enjoyed such great tasting sushi, with such a combination of flavours.
I really wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Pan Chai to anybody, and with a restaurant upstairs in Harrods also you can enjoy a more private dining experience too. Whether you’re in Knightsbridge or just visiting London in general, be sure to stop by Pan Chai for a plate or two.2