A Celebration Of Food – Hakkasan !

Food is so much more than eating to kill your hunger. It’s about celebrating. Whenever there is a happy occasion like a birthday or a new job its always celebrated with a hearty meal. The best meals are of course the celebratory kind where you tend to indulge more than you normally do and this week K and I were in a very celebratory mood and indulge we most certainly did at none other than Hakkasan !

I’ve had their dim sum menu before so I’m familiar with their brilliance but it was K’s first time at the restaurant and my first time eating anything more than dim sums. We both had  high expectations because whomever we spoke to and told them we were dining at Hakkasan we got the standard “ooooo thats killer food!” response.  We’re excited as we tuck into our seats and are informed that this is a new slightly revamped menu to mark their anniversary. We’re politely guided through the new menu specifying some dishes and certainly their iconic ones have been retained. They’ve tried to incorporate more local ingredients creating newer dishes which in turn makes this menu slightly more affordable than the previous one. I have to admit there is something deeply satisfying  to know you’re about to be served exquisite food and you don’t have to sell a limb to pay for it. I’m also a big fan of supporting local markets and ingredients. Where most people are in awe of fancy imported ingredients I tend to be indifferent. I think it’s actually wonderful to have restaurants and chef take the trouble to work their menu with what is available locally as it’s all delicious. Everything doesn’t have to be flown half way across the world to create wonders on my palette.
K and I are not big drinkers with our meal and usually settle for a beer, but keeping with the spirit of indulging we got ourselves a cocktail each. Both brilliantly made. I tried their signature cocktail ‘ The Hakka’ which is delicious blend of Ketel One vodka, sake, coconut cream, lychee juice and passion fruit. I like thick creamy cocktails so this worked for me. K is a whiskey man and tried the ‘Typhoon no 8’ which was as sweet mix of Pomelo, Black label whiskey, pistachio lime and apple juice.

 We both agree that we can’t come to Hakkasan and not do dim sums so we made a conscious decision to try all seafood dim sums. I have to say it’s one of the best calls because from scallop dim sum, to prawn and corn, prawn and water chestnut, crab and even a sea bass dim sum delicately laced with caviar were ridiculously good.

The fried soft shell crab with egg threads and chilli sounded wonderful at the time of ordering and even looked very interesting when it came to the table sadly it was way too oily and didn’t work for us at all. I understand fried means it will be oily but this was a bit much and I think after those delicate dim sums it was an overload for my taste buds. Having said that I can definitely see people enjoying this dish it just wasn’t for us.

The Dragon Fruit and Mustard Prawn salad was one of our favourite dishes that night. This was exactly why I ask for recommendations at a restaurant because my taste buds are always partial to certain flavours and had I read this off the menu I would never have tried it. I’m so glad it was recommended and we tried it because it made my meal. Not everyone is a fan of fruit in their food but I really welcome it. So the dragon fruit which is very similar to a kiwi fruit in terms of texture and even taste mixed with beautiful prawns drowning in a thick mustard gravy was superb. They even diced some dragon fruit and kiwi fruit and added it for good measure and for someone who’s not a fan of mustard I relished this newbie.
Main course time we clearly over ordered. We tried their stir fry Chilean sea bass with szechuan peppercorn and the stir fry tenderloin with black pepper sauce. Both were tasy enough but they were both familiar flavours so they didn’t quite have the same impact as the prawns or even the dim sums however both dishes were extremely satisfying.

The stunners from our main course were surprisingly two very basic and simple dishes. His favourite was their spring onion and egg fried rice which was stellar. So simple but addictively good and K just couldn’t get enough of it. At one point even wondering if they would share the recipe.

My favourite was a three style mushroom stir fry with greens and macadamia nuts. I know most will think it odd that such a simple vegetarian dish could be so satisfying but let me tell you I personally believe that some of the best Chinese dishes are vegetarian. These guys just really know how to cook their greens! Mushrooms are my all time favourite but in this light stir fry minus any oil or spice with the crunchy nuts was a dish I’d eat bowl fulls of repeatedly. Such a pity Hakkasan doesn’t do doggy bags because I would have taken a parcel of just the rice and mushrooms.
There was a lot of food and we’re reaching our limit but were not done just yet! Dessert is yet to come and the gluttons that we are instead of sharing one we got one each! K tried their white chocolate mousse with passion fruit sorbet which I’ve had before and can vouch for its deliciousness. The boy wiped his bowl clean! So that’s certainly a testament to what he thought.  I tried their lemon grass crème Brule with apricot and ginger ice cream. I was a little uncertain when I placed my order but it turned out to be fabulous. I’m suitably impressed when people use the least expected ingredients in dessert and lemon grass and ginger are strong flavours so one would think it would taste horrible. I’m happy to note its one of the best desserts I’ve had recently and all flavours were subtle but made their presence felt. Full marks to the chef ! I’d actually like to eat that ice cream more often.

Hakkasan didn’t disappoint the first time I went and it was lovely the second time. I had a brilliant meal which I think turned out to be a celebration of food! If you want to try something different this menu will certainly help. My advice is to actually ask your serve to recommend dishes because we barely even glanced at the menu we just went with what they suggested and it turned out fabulous!