While at Sake No Hana, Jon and I found ourselves saying things like “the food here isn’t as delicious and exciting as it is at Hakkasan.” And then it occurred to me that I hadn’t been back to Hakkasan in well over a year. (My last two meals at Hakkasan were in November and December 2006).
While both those meals were pricey, I remember thinking at the time that if we ordered a little more carefully (i.e., cut back on the cocktails and £35+ main courses), Hakkasan would still be a great-tasting and far more affordable experience.
So last Sunday, Jon and I took my in-town-for-the-week parents to Hakkasan, hoping the food was still as good as we remembered and looking forward to trying the Sunday dim sum menu.
Of course we ordered up a storm – everything from traditional xiao long bao (with a nice, crab-tinted pork filling) to dishes with a twist, like the prawn and gai lan cheung fun pictured above (£4.50). The crunchy gai lan added contrasting texture to the silky, sticky rice noodle, as well as a pretty green color to go with the pink juiciness of the prawn.
Another standout were the scallop shu mai topped with salty roe (£5.20). The scallops were plump and sweet (and oh, how pretty!). I shouldn’t have been surprised that these were so good, considering how much Jon and I love to order them at Yauatcha, Hakksan’s dim sum-only sibling.
Turnip cake was another example of how Hakkasan takes a classic dish and adds just a little something to make it special. The turnip cake was beautifully pan fried so that it had the nice brown crispy bits on the outside, and then it was topped with a layer of delicate, fragrant, crunchy garlic chive blossoms.
Unable to resist ordering main courses as well as dim sum, Jon and I revisited our favorite, the Duke of Berkshire pork belly clay pot (still deliciously salty and tender), and we enjoyed the garlicky sauteed morning glory and tofu-and-mushroom claypot, too. The tofu was so slinky and rich that at first bite, I thought I’d bitten into a layer of pork belly fat. What a nice surprise to figure out that it was, in fact, tofu.
We ordered a few pots of tea, and the best value one, hands down, was the “four seasons oolong,” which had a tangy, leafy scent.
Service was attentive and helpful, recommending the tasty morning glory after apologizing that the restaurant didn’t have the sauteed snow pea leaves we wanted. Tap water was no problem.
Most of the dim sum were £4-6 each, and we stuck with mains that were £10-15, so six dim sum, three mains and tea totaled £85. Not a bad total for four people dining at a very chic restaurant serving high-quality food. Next time, I won’t wait a year to go back.
Hakkasan, 8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD, 0207 927 7000; closest Tube station: Tottenham Court Road