A few weeks ago my other half’s lovely cousin came to visit from the states. It was my first time meeting her, she is a very nice person, bubbly, full of life and an inspiration. As she was only in London for 10 days, we had a lot of cramming in to do…. Starting with Hakkasan.
I have been to Hakkasan twice for dinner, and let me tell you, everytime I see the bill, I get very very scared, because their A La Carte menu is very expensive!!! Specialising in Cantonese cuisine, they use the freshest of ingredients, their seafood is flown in from New Zealand……:o yahuh!!! Their peking duck with beluga caviar costs £280!!! And that is not even the expensivest, the most priciest dish on their menu is Braised dried whole Japanese abalone (10 head) at a staggering £350!!! The last time I went for dinner I paid about £150pp which included food and drink, bearing in mind this was for a birthday and a party of 10/12 or so!
First time having lunch at the Mayfair branch, this is one of their biggest branches in London, seating around 220 people, spanning over two floors. Lunch seating was on the ground floor, a large area, with a long bar at the back.
My other half’s sister booked Lunch for the three of us here, she managed to get a booking on the day using OpenTable
OpenTable is fantastic, it has every single cafe, restaurant, bar, you want on it. It also provides you with some really great offers, I am forever using this. They had an offer for lunch, 3 course meal including a cocktail for £38pp, which is pretty good!!
We got there early as it was raining on that particular Wednesday, the front of house team were welcoming, they took our coats and showed us to our table. We had a large table with comfortable chairs, overlooking the window and the long bar. It’s very beautiful and modernised inside. Their furnishing is quite dark, which illuminates in the dark and the red HKK signs are shown. Drinks menu was presented as well as water for the table. With a set menu, you are allowed to choose 1 dish from each course, and same goes for the cocktail, their most famous is The Hakka – Belvedere vodka, Akashi-tai sake, lychee juice, lime, coconut and passion fruit, the two girls went for that, as I have had that a lot……. I opted for the Lychee Martini -Belvedere vodka, lychee juice, lime and orange cream citrate bitters. Was very smooth and yummy, not too strong or too sweet, just what I needed!
The food menu was then presented, as I’m not a veggie, I was rather excited about the options for the starter, I chose the seafood dim sum selection with Szechuan salad. As I don’t eat venison, the lovely chef gave me sesame prawn toast with foie gras. In the basket there was a scallop shumai, har gau and a crab dim sum accompanied by the tangy salad and condiments of chilli oil and chilli fish sauce.
It all looked very nice, and was tasty too. I really liked the dim sum and the salad. First time having a scallop, fishy at first, but so soft, and actually it tastes like the sea, which was nice! However, that prawn toast, nahuh!!! It looks like a drumstick, and was very bland, no flavour, prawns are meant to be juicy, but this one was so boring!!!
I was ready for my main course, I was looking around at the other tables, just to get an idea of the portion size and actually they seemed ok, maybe cause I couldn’t see much, or the fact they weren’t so big!! There was a lot to choose from, in the end I opted for Spicy Prawns with Lily Bulb and Almond. Each main course comes with a portion of jasmine rice and steamed asparagus. The two ladies both went for the Stir-fry Black Pepper Vegetarian Chicken.
Now how does that look? Appetising?!?! Hell yeahhhh it was too!!! Ohhhh Myyyyy Gawwwwwd, this was my favourite by far!!! The coconut base sauce was so yum, I can taste it whilst typing…. Lemongrass, chilli, hints of ginger, and it was so light, and the prawns, arghhhh I love prawns, and yes I highly recommend this dish to anyone, they have it on their A La Carte menu. It was just the best!!! Although I don’t know why they chose to put flaked almonds in it, there was no taste profile, that lily bulb also made the dish!! I haven’t had lily bulb before, it has a slight tangy taste! Yum yum yum!!! Asparagus cooked to perfect, al dentè. I ate nearly all of it. I did try the veggie chicken and to be honest it was so chewy, like when chicken is overcooked. There was also no taste in there, the pepper notes came out a bit, but really that was it!
I was so glad I had space for dessert as that is my biggest thing to look for in a menu. Obviously being a dessert queen and my passion, hence why I became a Pastry Chef, everytime I pick a restaurant, first thing I look at is, of course the Dessert Menu. It’s kind of a deal breaker for me! As I have been to Hakkasan a few times, I know what to expect! With the set menu, there was a selection of 4 to choose from, a standard apple tart, which is ok but pretty boring to be honest, its like playing the “safe card!” I chose the Jivara Bomb – Milk chocolate, Hazelnut Praline, Rice Krispies. Plate decorated with raspberries and popping candy.
The hostess poured the chocolate fudge sauce all over the top of the bomb, it didn’t crack open, I wasn’t really looking for that theatre, I know Hakkasan don’t play on their desserts much often. They’re known for keeping it clean and simple!
The inside when cut in half, was kind of hard, sort of like a hard parfait, tasted like nutella, strong notes of hazelnut, matched well with the tartness of the raspberries. Very heavy though, the addition of popping candy was fun, although the glucose on the plate was a bad idea, maybe use piping gel to stick decorations down. After around 10 minutes that parfait turned very soupy! Nice dessert to try, not something I’d have again.
Overall the lunch experience was very nice, the atmosphere and company was a delight. I’d happily go back and try other dishes on the set menu. However if you are a vegetarian then you really are stuck for choices, as they only have 2 choices for mains! But then again, you wouldn’t really be coming here often, so once in a blue moon is okay!