Friday, 11 April 2014

A Taste of Hakkasan

Hakkasan offers Dim Sum Sunday special menu for £48 per head, which includes 6 courses, a cocktail and tea. It's a fair bit pricier than Taste of Yauatcha, but it's still great value compared to its a la carte. I suppose a Michelin star dim sum restaurant is good enough for an afternoon catch up with Olivia. 

We started with our cocktails. My Matcha Vera was bittersweet and Olivia's Ginseng Daiquiri was very fruity with only the faintest trace of ginseng. 

Crispy Duck Salad
The crispy duck salad actually arrived in a neat little pile, but our server didn't give me a chance to snap a photo before he went ahead to toss things up. I suppose all fixed menus are similar, so there was little difference between this version of crispy duck salad and HKK's; generous pieces of tender duck with fragrant and crispy skin in a light, citrusy dressing. HKK's version, however, had cubes of dragon-fruit and melon, which just gave the salad a sweeter touch and that winning edge compared to Hakkasan's slightly meagre portion of pomelo. 

Shimeji dumpling, Har gau, Scallop Shumai, Chinese chive dumpling with prawn and crabmeat
The steamed dim sums were generally good. I thought the shells were a bit too sticky for my liking, perhaps a tad over-steamed, which wouldn't surprise me given it was absolutely packed on Mothers' Day. I usually prefer the regular pork shumai to the posh scallops, but these were probably my favourite of the platter; the thick disc of scallop was very well seasoned, plump and succulent. 

Crispy seafood roll, Baked venison puff, Crispy smoked duck and pumpkin puff, Fried golden lobster roll
The pumpkin puff was interestingly confusing. I was expecting a sweet puff with pumpkin mash but it was much more savoury than I thought. The viscous broth of duck and veg just started overflowing from the crispy shell as I dug my teeth into it. The baked venison puff fluffy and light, that said I still prefer the conventional roast pork puff. It's the sweet barbeque with the odd lump of melty lard that gets me, I reckon venison is too lean, and when mixed with such a strong sauce, it loses the gamey character of the meat. While the seafood roll was disappointingly bland, the golden lobster roll was delightful with the gooey cheese. 

Three style mushroom cheung fun
We opted for the mushroom cheung fun as opposed to the pork ribs. The cheung fun itself was very well made, the delicate balance of rice flour was handled expertly to give its light, slithery texture. Despite stuffing it with juicy, springy mushrooms, it was just lacking the 'omph' from meats; you know, the juice, the grease and the roundness. On a separate note, the soy sauce was better than most restaurants in London. 

Stir fry black pepper rib eye beef with merlot
We went for the stir-fry black pepper rib-eye with Merlot as our main, and it came with pak choi and spring onion & egg fried rice. Yea, the beef was alright, nothing spectacular - not the most tender pieces of rib-eye, but then again I have been spoilt with a lot of wagyu recently:) The rice was great, each grain was stained with egg , full of bounce and chew, not dissimilar to glutinous rice, just more moist. 

Lemon Pot with lemon curd, meringue, crumble
I'm not a lemon dessert person; Olivia enjoyed the airy mousse with broken bits of meringue. 

Coffee and mascarpone mousse hazelnut and bitter chocolate
My chocolate delice was rich and indulgent. 

I always set the bar a bit higher with dim sum / Chinese restaurants, especially when they bling things up with 'fine-dining'. While Hakkasan ticks all the boxes on the Michelin checklist with the slick decor, a sexy cocktail menu and confusing toilets, I don't think it ranks amongst the finest dim sum parlours. It quite simply lacked finesse. Yes, pairing cheese with lobster in the deep-fried roll is different to the conventional items and tasted great, but there was no complexity or sophistication in the recipe. Put that next to the ginger and shumai shooter that we had at RedFarm in New York, a bit of cheese in dim sum is really quite mediocre. I believe we would describe this as 'rough' in Chinese, not in terms of texture, but more around the lack of attention to detail, a bit 'heartless'. 

Our Sunday dim sum session went on for a good 5 hours, only because of awesome company and juicy gossips though. 
8 Hanway Place 
W1T 1HD 
Tel: 0207 927 7000 

Hakkasan on Urbanspoon
You may also like: Yauatcha, Princess of Mayfair, HKK 


  1. Better just stick with standard china town dim sum and save your money then =)
    I normally like Royal Dragon in china town for dim sum but have't been in a while so not sure what it's like these days.

    On another note, had a meal in Cay Tre on saturday and it was so good. I know you have your reservations but we always have a great meal in CT!

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