For my birthday, I was treated to dinner at Hakkasan, a Chinese restaurant in Fitzrovia. Crossing over the mayhem that is Tottenham court road and then going down a dodgy-looking lane that came to a dead end, the last thing I expected was to see the sleek and swanky entrance of Hakkasan.
Given it was my birthday treat – I certainly I wasn’t holding back and we decided to go for their £55 tasting menu which showcased all their signature dishes.
We started with the Dim Sum platter that had scallop shumai, har gau, Chinese chive dumplings and shimeji dumplings. The eight little bejewelled parcels of deliciousness were simply sublime. The Jasmine tea smoked pork ribs that followed didn’t fare so well. While the sweetish barbeque flavour was a winner, the ribs were dry and could have done with a bit more sauce to add moisture.
Then the mains arrived of which the Roast Chicken in Satay sauce was my favourite. I devoured the chicken pieces with crispy skin coated in a gorgeously flavourful peanut sauce. Another highlight was the Stir fry Black Pepper Rib-eye Beef with Merlot. The sauce had a delicate sweet taste though be warned, it is doused liberally with gigantic cloves of garlic.
The Pan-fried Silver Cod was rather lovely as well – tender fishy morsels that melted in your mouth. However, I wasn’t a big fan of the Spicy prawn with lily bulb and almonds which just had a rather odd taste.
Unfortunately, a combination of various factors (birthday shenanigans the night before at the London Cocktail Club and then scarfing down some fried chicken from Bone Daddies a few hours before dinner) meant I couldn’t do justice to the spread laid out in front of us. Rather a shame, given what a sumptuous meal it was. Luckily, my dinner companion rose to the occasion and made up for my lack of appetite. In hindsight, I realize we should have done the very budget friendly tasting set for £30 instead.
Dessert was a fun affair given that they stuck a candle in it and wrote my name all over the plate. Always a good way to thrill a birthday girl! So if you’re looking for a Nobu-esque dinner but with bit more of hearty Asian fare, Hakkasan does deliver. The ambiance is sleek and sexy and the service is top-notch. However, I would rate Nobu and Coya above it because I prefer the type of cuisine served in those two restaurants much more (Japananese and Peruvian).
8 Hanway Place London W1T 1HD
Tel: 0207 927 9000
Tube: Tottenham Court Road