Its not every night of the week you get to go to a restaurant like Hakkasan.
Mood lit, sutry and oozing sophistication, it is undoubtedly stomping ground more familiar to oligarchs, the traders and sheiks then chef/ foodie/ cooking programme hosts.
My date and I arrived, late as usual. To be precise we were a whole half hour late, which for a trendy London restaurant is pretty risky, if you are hoping to keep your table. Aside from the well deserved eye roll from the maitre d, they were very accommodating. A quick accost of our coats and we were swiftly shown to our table.
To begin we hit it with a round of (my favourite drink) a very dirty vodka martini. Fresh and crisp with a couple of plump, green Castelvetrano Olives. I don’t know if it was shake or stirred, but James Bond would definitely have approved!
Once the first round had been knocked back, and the menu salivated over, we were ready to order. Perhaps rather greedily, we went to town on the menu… More about that in a minute but lets just take a moment to talk dim sum….
Out it came… In all its light tender, steamed glory. Ready and waiting for our chopsticks to come diving in. The selection they gave us was a mix of slow cooked duck, a herby fish combination, a pork and prawn classic and (the favourite) a scallop and prawn combo topped off with mighty fine roe. This came out with a lotus root salad garnished to high heaven with micro herbs and mixed mandolined vegetables. Light and refreshing it was a good accompaniment to the dim sum – it was a good move to get a few greens in early, before we said bonjour to the meats.
So, lets dive in with a quick run through of the dishes…
(Top) the Crispy Duck in a juicy meat liquor with black truffle and mushrooms. The skin was burnished golden with a pleasing walkers crunch crisp. The meat uber soft and mouthwateringly shreddable. The dish was a real powerhouse of earthy rich flavours! (Second) the Wagu Beef. Cooked rare – you wouldn’t want it any other way, otherwise the fat renders out and it the meat looses its amazing butter soft texture. (Third) Plump, butterflied prawns with lily numb (whatever that is) sitting in a rich creamy, quite indian tasting, sauce. This was the boy’s favourite. I found it delicious but a little heavy after a couple mouthfuls and there was a fair bit to get through…
I hope you will be pleased to know we nearly got through everything, minus a few slivers of wagu beef and slices of duck. I was heartbroken to have left them, but they had a no doggie bag rule. D’oh.
I enjoyed every minute. Oh wait, yes there was one more course…
A lovely lemon creme pot, whipped up to a light aerated moose and finished with a flourish of meringue, lemon curd and crumble. Perhaps not as lemony as it might have been, it was none the less a lovely mouthful of sweet after our mountain of savoury dishes.
There are currently eleven Hakkasans worldwide. The two in London are in Mayfair and one in Hanway Place.
You can find more details of both, including menus here
Described most accurately as Modern Chinese cooking at its most refined, Hakkasan is a real treat for any diner. Foodie or not. If you happen to be on a date, then enjoy being spoilt. I can promise that the butterflied prawns will tickle your tastebuds, the wagu beef will knock your louboutin pop socks off and the dim sum will blow your mind.
Just make sure to wear trousers with an elasticated band, or a dress with a bit of give. This is no place for Herve Leger.