Monday, 16 September 2013

Restaurant Review: Hakkasan


Where I ate:
Hakkasan, Bruton Street, Mayfair
The weekend before last I went out to celebrate Vicky’s birthday. She had booked a table at top London restaurant Hakkasan (it’s been awarded a Michelin star, no less) and it’s fair to say I was excited – I’d never been out in Mayfair before, and as most people know, I love Chinese! Not to mention it had been a while since I had gone out and the last time I saw Vicky was when we went on our spa day! I definitely wasn’t left feeling disappointed and I already want to return to Hakkasan.
On arrival we went straight to the bar as our table wasn’t ready. The atmosphere is really relaxed, emphasised by the dimmed lighting and heating – which while making you feel comfortable, also makes you feel tired very quickly! As you’d expect from somewhere so sophisticated, there was a lot of black. My only gripe would be the layout and the room between tables. Although we were positioned on an end bench, we didn’t have people either side of us, but it did almost feel like we were on top of the couple next to us. With this in mind, leaving the table was a bit of a tight squeeze – awkward.
The staff, however, were superb and very attentive. They were quick to ensure everything was okay and were quick to ask if our glasses wanted refilling (although after a couple of drinks, I had to draw the line, particularly as pay day was yet to come). I think when you go to a restaurant of that class, you expect impeccable service – but I could have no complaints.
What I drank:
Passion fruit Bellini
The drinks menu at Hakkasan is remarkable and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an extensive list – from the six pages of cocktails, to the page and a half dedicated to just tequila alone!
After umming and ahhing over what to have for about 10 minutes, we were informed that as our table was running late, we were to have the first round on the house. With this in mind, I opted for the passion fruit Bellini (£11) – they are probably one of my favourite cocktails. Positioned at the bar, it was great seeing the mixologists in action, particularly as one girl ordered a cocktail containing four shots, strawberries and a weird kind of foam – that was certainly an interesting watch!
The Bellini was amazing and the passion fruit offered a sweetness an original peach Bellini doesn’t have. Served in a highball glass, as opposed to a traditional champagne flute, it definitely felt like there was more to drink.
What I ate:
Sweet & sour Duke of Berkshire pork with pomegranate and steamed rice
When it came to ordering food, I was totally torn. Were we going to order things to share? Did I want a couple of starters as opposed to a main meal? There were a number of main courses which caught my eye as well (including jasmine tea smoked chicken and wagyu beef in Szechuan sauce). In the end I went for the sweet & sour pork, with an accompaniment of rice.
The dish was presented well and was full of colour – from the red and green peppers, to the vibrant, sticky sweet & sour sauce and the flecks of pomegranate were like little jewels. It looked like an entire pig in front of me, and I found I was full quite quickly. I have to say though, it was the loveliest sweet & sour I’ve ever had, the pork was crispy and cooked to perfection – it was just a shame I couldn’t do the meal justice. In retrospect, I didn’t need the rice either – and there was loads of that too. Each portion was served in an individual bowl, but the waitress soon returned with large pots with the remaining cooked rice – there was easily enough for three in my portion.
I couldn’t manage a dessert unfortunately, and opted out of an after-dinner drink as I’d already ordered another Bellini. At £30 (I was expecting to pay a lot more!), I was very impressed.
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different, to celebrate an occasion like a birthday or even anniversary, I’d recommend Hakkasan – particularly if you’re a lover of Chinese cuisine and good drinks!
Thank you Vicky, I hope you enjoyed your birthday x

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