I firmly believe that even the small things in life deserve to be celebrated. It’s not a hugely exciting time for Andy and I at the moment as exams are on the horizon, but we took a chance to celebrate the little things last week over an incredible meal at Pan Chai at Harrods.
I had my first minor exam last Monday and Andy has recently changed things up a little at work and well, any excuse for a date night! Pan Chai is a Pan-Asian restaurant located in the heart of the Harrods Food Halls which opened in 2012. It serves a range of delicious fresh, vibrant dishes that were created by Executive Head Chef Ian Pengelley, whose delights I recently sampled at House of Ho.
As you can see, the restaurant itself is small, seating only 22 diners, and is set around the main prep station so you can watch the chefs at work. To be honest, Andy and I found ourselves mesmerised on more than a couple of occasions!
I started with a delicious glass of crisp white wine and Andy ordered a beer. Our waitress was more than happy to help us select wines and our dishes for the evening (as we were being slightly indecisive as always!)
Please is this one for us?!
I’m very happy to say it was! Our first dish of the evening was the spicy tuna roll, which managed to balance the vibrant spicy flavours without being overpowering.
Though I’m not usually a fan of mayonnaise I loved the slightly spicy mayo that complemented and yet contrasted perfectly with the tuna rolls.
In fact, so good that Andy rated it as his best dis of the night!
And then something really special happened. Really special!
Our waitress said that if there was one dish that we had to try it was the Harrods special, and oh my, I’m going to give you the same advice. It’s a seriously incredible dish that you must order at Pan Chai.
The special is the Pan Chai classic of an inside-out sushi roll with fresh snow crab, avocado and spicy mayonnaise, topped with chopped scallops, orange and black caviar and spring onions. Perfect, not just in taste, but in its presentation, with dry ice melting in front of you to give you one of the most impressive looking dishes I’ve ever seen.
I know, there’s a lot of snaps of this dish, but it’s worth every single one of them because we were both blown away (and not literally by the dry ice, but figuratively by the flavours).
The crab itself was light and flavoursome and I loved the textural contrast with the soft avocado and sushi rice.
I find that you either love caviar or you hate it, but I can’t get enough of it! This caviar was no exception: the popping sensation and the buttery yet sea-like taste was wonderful.
A truly special, and spectacular dish.
The only issue for a foodie in sitting at these tables is the never ending food envy as you see other people’s incredible dishes being prepared!
Next, was the soft shell crab tempura. In case you haven’t guessed by now, crab is one of my favourite shell-fishes, and I take pretty much every opportunity to order it (much like tartare for that matter).
Having already sampled Ian Pengelley’s scrumptious soft shell crab tempura at House of Ho, I had really high expectations for this dish – and insisted to a slightly reluctant Andy that we had to order it!
That light batter… The heavenly crab itself…
And the dipping sauce that gave the dish an extra salty-ness and lemon tint that we both loved.
Our final dish of the evening was the salmon terriyaki, served with salmon roe (a real favourite of mine) and grilled asparagus. Not my favourite dish of the evening, but I think that was more to do with the astounding dishes we had had before, but still a really well prepared dish.
I loved the slightly sweet terriyaki sauce, the fresh, almost meaty salmon and the added crunch of the salmon roe.
Pan Chai is the perfect place for a relaxed, casual celebration – and even more so as a shopping break! Harrods is one of my favourite places to spend an afternoon, especially when I’m in a shopping mood, and I can easily see myself popping back here (probably with mum!) with a few shopping bags ready for some delicious food and a glass or two of wine to sustain us for an afternoon exploring even more of one of London’s most luxurious places.
Whether you’re a shopaholic who needs to rest her feet after pounding the floors of Harrods, or you’re looking to try an incredible Pan-Asian restaurant with a flare for presentation, I’m sure you can find a little something to celebrate at Pan Chai. And if you can’t sit down for a full meal, there’s a little Pan Chai deli for a little takeaway treat.
Harrods Food Halls, Ground Floor
87-135 Brompton Road,
London SW1X 7XL
Our meal was complimentary.