Back when I lived in New York, I would go out to eat sushi around once a week. It would be a ritual I had with my mom – the one thing we would schedule in consistently, when I would be swamped with school and extracurriculars and she was busy with work. We would catch up and chew the fat(ty tuna) – and even though we did it every week, it always felt special, and like a treat.
Nowadays, my weekly sushi routine usually involves grabbing a couple of salmon avocado handrolls, hunched over my laptop at the office. So when I was invited to pop down to Harrod’s and check out Pan Chai, I was pretty excited.
It’s located in the food hall of Harrod’s – 22 leather and marble clad seats where shoppers can sample fresh, pan-Asian fare without interrupting their shopping trip. As a result, it is fantastic for people-watching – if you’re looking for an intimate, romantic meal then this might not be one for you, but it’s definitely one to bring your best friend to.
We started with the seaweed salad, which was topped with sesame seeds. It was slightly pickled, and had bite, and by far the simplest dish we had during our visit.
If you go to Harrod’s, then you probably love the dramatic – and the rest of our meal at Pan Chai was like a trip to the theatre in the best way possible. The first signature sushi roll we ordered was the Harrod’s Special – fresh snow crab with avocado and spicy mayonnaise, topped with seared scallops, black caviar and spring onions.
In my opinion, you can’t really go wrong with the crab and avocado combination, but it paled in comparison to the negitoro maki, which is one of my favourites. Negitoro is spicy tuna with spring onions, and this was made with chopped tuna belly – it was mouthwateringly good.
I’m definitely quite conservative when it comes to my sushi choices, though, and I absolutely loved the simple flavours from the nigiri kiku platter. With sushi, as long as the quality of the ingredients is there, you don’t need to combine too many flavours or textures – it just works.
The nigiri kiku platter included a foie gras roll that I still dream about one month after my visit – it was like butter. You also got tuna belly, salmon, sea bass, yellow tail, shrimp, wagyu tartar, scallop and grilled eel, along with the usual fillers (in my opinion!) of cooked prawn, tamago and tuna.
It was all absolutely delicious, the tuna belly and the wagyu tartar really standing out as well.
I had a really enjoyable experience at Pan Chai, but the only drawback I had with the menu was the total lack of dessert options. We settled for a kir royale and a bellini, but given how much I enjoyed the nigiri in particular, I would’ve loved to have finished the meal with something sweet. If you’re ever in need of a bite to eat during a shopping spree, I’d definitely recommend the nigiri platter.