Hakkasan is pretty special, it is one of few Asian restaurants to hold Michelin star (this location in particular has held this status since a year after opening in 2011). The vibe of Hakkasan has always reminded me of the type of venue, that my besties from Sex and the City would frequent. Dimly lit, wooden panelling, and chillout but funky background music, the environment feels comfortable and relaxed.
I personally love restaurants that can create a really comfortable space for a mix of different types of people, whilst never wavering on food and drink quality. It means that the restaurant can cater to multiple occasions, a causal business lunch, celebratory dinner and everything in between.
Time and pocket permitting, I will always go with a tasting menu at a restaurant such as this one, it allows you to more easily taste a broad array of what’s on offer, as opposed to visiting on several occasions. The ‘Taste of Hakkasan” set menu prices start at £32 per person, right up to £120 per person for the “Signature Menu”.
There is certainly no shortage of Asian restaurants in London, and one of my absolute favourites is Hakkasan. Yes, I am reviewing a restaurant that has been operating for 8 years, which in London terms, is pretty much ancient. My excuse is being a certified Brumdoner (Brummie come Londoner), and so I am simply playing catch-up on the old, whilst still seeking out the new.
The menu had multiple pages, and so I asked the waitress to point me in the direction of the set menu’s, to her response of “Do you want the £32 menu?”. Now the entry point menu may well be extremely popular (and could very well be the reason for her suggestion), however I was offended by her assumption. I understand it that the job of the waitress/waiter is to guide the customer through the menu, giving advice where necessary or requested. The job of a waitress/waiter is definitely not to play the guessing game on the customers tastes or bank account, especially when no prior probing questions were asked. It was actually a black woman asking me (another black woman), this question, and so whilst service was seamless, this question, left a bad taste in my mouth.
I opted for the £120 Signature menu (nothing at all to do with the presumptuous waitress!), which was genuinely enough to feed a family of six, and so I recommend that you DO NOT do as I did….unless you have not eaten all week.
In total this menu included three starters, four mains (plus rice), two desserts, and a glass of champagne. Below are some of the highlights from my feast.
Though I preferred certain dishes over others, the food was delicious, the service was attentive (apart from the psychic waitress), and for a second time Hakkasan has reminded me why it still remains a favourite for Londoners after such a long time.
Restaurants such as Hakkasan is always a stark reminder of how bad the Cantonese food was from my local takeaway 20 years ago, but also how great this food can be when done well within the right environment. Forever one of my favs!