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A cross between an edgy, black-suited nightclub and a moody restaurant (think John Travolta's Swordfish, says a movie buff), Hakkasan's brand of glitzy, gilt-edged Chinese cooking still rocks the
West End. Once you've descended into the darkness, the dining room immediately works its ‘electrifying' magic with smouldering incense, seductive spot lighting and a throbbing soundtrack providing
the backdrop to some turbocharged Cantonese flavours. Exquisitely presented dim-sum platters are a hard act to follow (don't miss the XO scallop dumplings), but visitors are regularly blown away by
the stunningly beautiful crispy duck salad with pomelo fruit, the silky roast silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey, and the bank balance-sinking seared Wagyu beef with white asparagus.
Drinks also add to the ‘genius of the place': glamorous cocktails keep the slinky bar at fever pitch, while the wine list is a ground-breaking collection of classy bottles. Pop in for 'Dim Sum
Sundays' - a weekly lunch event hosted by the lounge DJs until 5.45pm. ‘Too cool', seemingly ‘rude' staff can sometimes dull the glitter, and the strictly enforced two-hour time slots are a regular
source of irritation.
Hakkasan Group’s wine lists share the same innovative overall structure, with wines separated by quirky categories, like ‘new classics: genius without a château’, or ‘blends: the art of the winemaker’. All have a superlative range of wines, with a heartening willingness to go off the beaten track, as well as reassure diners with a strong selection of Burgundy. An object lesson in professionalism and imagination.
Last Thursday I went for lunch at Hakkasan Hanway Place with the lovely Mina and Alix. We haven't caught up properly for ages so it was a great chance to try some delicious Dim Sum and have a good ole natter. I've never been to Hakkasan, however I paid a visit to sister restaurant Sake no Hana last year for their Sake class, so I knew it would be pretty good. After settling down and sipping on some green tea, we started with the Crispy Duck Salad and Salt and Pepper Squid. The crispy duck salad was eaten so quickly I didn't get a photo, it was delicious. The duck was perfect and the salad had so much flavour...
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Tucked away down a rather insalubrious looking alleyway off Oxford Street lies perhaps one of the best hidden gems in London, although its reputation and Michelin star have meant that Hakkasan is now widely recognised as one of the finest Asian eateries the capital has to offer. Anyone who has tried to gain entry will know that booking is essential if you wish to pass into this subterranean world where you can indulge in one of the most memorable oriental experiences available...
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Hakkasan is the long-serving establishment that did the slick-lined, low-lit, subterranean celebrity haunt thing before most others. Since 2001 it has served as a dining vestibule for evenings often ending in whichever night-life hotspot is currently the most impenetrable, unless you have a surname of Geldof, a first name of Tarquin, or are friends with Prince Harry. It certainly lends itself to this clientèle The interiors are dimly lit enough for wisp thin socialites of the evening crowd to avoid interacting with the food without attracting too much attention to the fact. There’s a lot of black leather, dark wood...
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Designed by Christian Liaigre, Hakkasan's glamorous private room promises a unique experience for diners. With its oak lattice screens and luxurious fittings, the decor references Chinese history, tradition and architecture. The menu is designed for diners to share, and offers three courses that amply showcase the Michelin-starred restaurant's contemporary Cantonese cuisine.
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