Among the bustling side streets of Central London on a typical rainy Thursday in autumnal London, lies a hidden gem with a glittering red sign emblazing the word ‘Hakkasan.’ A Michelin star restaurant created by Syra Khan and Alan Yau, founder of Wagamama and Yauatcha. As you enter the door and you’re greeted with the sweet scent of incense, which is a warm welcome, as you enter down the stairs of Hakkasan which feels like you just abandoned London and entered a vintage but modern Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong or Beijing or indeed the set of a John Woo film.
The first thing you notice is the elegance of Hakkasan, which was initially unexpected for the restaurant on Hanway Place just off Tottenham Court Road. After you’ve admired the beauty of Christian Liagre’s design of Hakkasan, what smacks you next in the face is the joviality of the staff members and how you are treated as if you’re a celebrity, the service is very efficient and natural.
I was escorted to my seat, I took in the beauty of the place and for a rainy Thursday the restaurant was vibrantly brimming with life. Broken out of my trance with water on ice being brought to me, without asking.
We were introduced to The Hakkasan Shou Menu, the first dish brought out was the Crispy Duck Salad, when arrived the presentation was immaculate, as if the dish was sacred and not meant to be devoured. But falling to temptation, I managed to tackle the beauty of this dish. This starter was light and refreshing for the course that remained ahead. The flavours were delicate and sweet along with its pine nuts and shallot enhanced the flavours as they tangoed on the tips of the taste buds of your tongue.
The next two courses consist of a variety of eight different beautiful Hor d’oeuvres bought out on two different platters. One of them is steam with the other being fried and baked, which can be brought out separately or together. Which is a great option because you can enjoy bother delicious platters while conversing and enjoying your company along with the diverse flavours presented before you.
The platters of these two unique and well-presented platters and come out different for your eyes to gaze upon before you savour them bit by bit, piece by piece.
The Hor d’oeuvres (Dim Sum) are brought out accompanied by three sauces being soy sauce, sweet chilli and chilli oil, which each piece complimented each sauce, no matter what way you decided to devour it, except for one, which was the which was the stranger in a strange land. But it was a different flavor from the rest, because it had an after taste.
Then came the dish I had been anticipating, Grilled Chilean Sea Bass glazed with honey with Jasmine Steamed Rice and Vegetables (Pak Choi) which was absolutely divine and beautifully presented for the two of you to help yourself to the large portions of your main courses. Everything tasted fresh the rice was al dente and steaming when it arrived on the table, the vegetables were perfect with the flavours of juices they were cooked in drizzled over the vegetables. While the sea bass shimmered with its sweet aroma as it glistened with it’s honey glaze. It truly felt like a criminal offence to demolish such a beautifully presented dish, but the crime was well worth it at that and mouth-wateringly delicious.
Now unbeknownst to me, came a surprise, dessert is also on the menu with the addition of an after-dinner cocktail. While the dessert menu is fairly limited but the offers upon the menu are fantastic and even better it comes with recommendations on which after dinner cocktail would best suit and accompany your dessert. Perfect for the typical British day of rain. Although I wanted to remain in the atmosphere of East Asia.
Hakkasan, Hanway, 8 Hanway Place, London W1T 1HD Tel: 020 7927 7000