The notion of a high end, trendy Chinese restaurant sounds wrong. Like someone stuck a Prada logo on a Nike t-shirt to markup the prices. But when it comes to Alan Yau, the successful restauranteur who created Busaba Eathai, Wagamamas, Yauatcha and many more around the globe, we can expect greatness from Hakkasan. The menu had both modern and traditional dishes for the whole table to share in the usual manner but enhanced with a trendy deco. New additions include an extensive list of cocktails, a sleek bar and an almost pitch black lighting system that’ll benefit any girl who wish to impress on a date. Even the staff have been trained into Chinese ways, no, not the rude ones from Chinatown. The waitresses were dressed in pink mini dresses, yet trained with a thorough understanding of traditional Chinese table manners like never point a teapot on the table towards customers (not many restaurants know this one).
I’ve been to Hakkasan a couple times over the years and never found any faults to the food and service. The new location next to Berkeley Square doubled in size compared to the original one at Hanway Place, now with two floors. Dim Sum is served in the afternoon and if you’ve already sampled the delicious dim sum at the sister restaurant Yauatcha (dim sum only), then expect identical flavours.
There were so many ingredients in this salad, at least 7 types of leaves. The ‘xiang chun’ really caught me eye, it’s a special herb that Chinese people eat in spring with stir fried egg. Never thought I’d taste it again in London, the memories of picking fresh ‘xiang chun’ from my grandma’s backyard came back like a vintage film. aww, memories.
Pipa duck is a form of roast duck, but butterflied before roasting to give a more concentrated flavour.
Our next table ordered crispy duck, which was creatively layered in three open blocks of duck, cucumber and pancake. No wrapping required like three deck of cards sitting on top of each other. From their enjoyable expressions, I guess it was a hit.
Dim sum platter
Hakkasan and Yauatcha both do amazing dim sum (and identical ones). I especially love their colourful dumplings like this assorted dim sum platter.
Homemade pumpkin tofu
Pumpkin tofu was a first and the texture and colour resembled those of a steamed egg. The pumpkin flavour was light, almost undetectable but it made the texture really soft and mushy. The flavour was great, perfect with a bowl of steamed rice.
Verdict - 4/5
Food (great) - Chinese food at Hakkasan was really good, nothing to fault. The dishes looked more exquisite compared to the rustic ones from Chinatown, especially the beautiful dim sum platter. They also stock an extensive list of Chinese teas, sold by pot. The Puerh tea was unusually smokey, one of the best I’ve had in London.
Service (sleek and trendy) - I’d never guess Hakkasan is a Chinese restaurant. It was trendy, dark, sleek and with waitresses in pink mini dresses. But the crowd were casual like Chinese food is suppose to be and you can dress up or come casual, no pressure (tho no trainers allowed).
Cost (£40) - two of us billed £80 including two pots of Puerh tea and some rice.
17 Bruton Street, London
020 7907 1888