Chances are, you’ve probably heard of Hakkasan, even if you’ve not been before. Favoured by singers, actors, and the Michelin guide (they carry a Michelin star, FYI), this opulent spot, tucked away in an unassuming corner just off of Tottenham Court Road – or in Mayfair, depending on the outpost you visit – is the place to be. The luxury restaurant serves up authentic Cantonese recipes, and boasts a 400-strong wine list, featuring vinos from around the world.
Until the end of this month, they’ll be serving a special set menu that celebrates British food and wine, while still honouring their Chinese style: Hakkasan In Bloom. This menu, created in partnership with wine producer Nyetimber, features dim sum, main dishes, salad, sides and even a dessert. This isn’t just food: it is an experience. It’s worth noting, you’ll pay a fine penny for this experience (the set menu is £128pp), but if you’ve got a special occasion on the books, it is most definitely worth it.
At the Hanway Park restaurant, just off Tottenham Court Road, you’ll venture past a bouncer, before descending down a level into utter decadence. The scent of jasmine guides you down the staircase before you enter the restaurant, then you’ll be led to your table by one of the reception-based staff. It’s easy to see why celebs favour this spot, and not just for the food (though this is, of course, is a big part); privacy and anonymity are easy to find at Hakkasan. Low lighting illuminates the restaurant just enough, but not too much, and ornate Imperial-style dividers create a maze of dark corners and partitioned tables. The defining soundtrack of Hakkasan restaurants plays, truly setting the tone for a night of opulence.
Under the spotlights, the Hakkasan In Bloom menu shimmers. It details the joy of what’s about to come, alongside where in Britain the meat you’re about to eat hailed from. First up dim sum is served to each diner, with a divine duck salad to share. Here at Secret London, we’re not usually ones to rave about a salad, but my goodness, this salad is unforgettable. The duck is cooked to perfection: crunchy on the outside, yet tender in the middle, and pomelo citrus fruit pegs add to the unique flavour, without being overpowering. For an added elegance, the staff will mix your salad in front of you. The dim sum is equally as indulgent: flavour pairings include wagyu beef shui mai, bespekled with gold; a sugar snap and edamame dumpling, with yam bean; and an abalone and chicken parcel, with dried scallop and dried shrimp.
Then comes Hakkasan In Bloom mains, and some could say it gets even better – if that is even possible. The whole menu is a celebration of British meat, cooked in traditional Cantonese style, and this becomes even clearer as the next three dishes come out. The grilled salmon in honey flakes away the moment the chopsticks strike the plate, and almost melts in your mouth with each bite, while the stir-fried rib eye beef is oh so soft you can’t help but keep reaching back for more. The lamb packs a bit of a punch with a touch of spice, but if that’s too much for you, you needn’t worry: the egg fried rice and seasonal vegetables side dishes will cool it down. It’s clear why Hakkasan has scored a Michelin star based on their meat alone, as it is all cooked to perfection. No matter the meat, it is all succulent and juicy, perfectly complimented by the flavours that surround it.
If the former courses were a celebration of British meat, your last course is a celebration of fruit. Dessert is medley of fruity flavours in a ‘Shanghai mess’: strawberry, coconut and banana, with Thai basil foam, vanilla, sea buckthorn sorbet and meringue. The sorbet is pretty tart, but is offset by the sweet vanilla and coconut. The whole thing is incredibly light – much welcomed after the last few courses.
Okay, okay, we’ve gone very in-depth about Hakkasan In Bloom’s food, but what about the drinks? As previously mentioned, the menu is in partnership with English wine producer Nyetimber, so you receive a glass of their 2014 Blanc de Blancs sparkling white. If you like having more than one drink on the go though, Hakkasan’s entire drinks menu is at your disposal to accompany your meal.
The choice is vast, but we opted for cocktails as they seemed particularly special; each has a quote that tells you the story of the drink. The Golden Emperor is a choice fit for royalty, presented in a large glass, topped with white chocolate that prevent the wisps of smoke escaping before you drink the brandy-based concoction. The finish is smooth, and the hexagon ice? Rather impressive. Alternatively, if you fancy something a little sweeter, the Ruby Tang is soft and fruity in taste, served in a dainty glass with a stem indicative of the rose water and roses in the drink itself. All the cocktails are mixed at the staggering bar, which you can catch a glimpse of wherever you’re sat; a beacon upon the low lighted space.
The whole experience at Hakkasan is incredible. The service is super attentive and quick, and as for the menu, you truly go on a culinary journey. And just like at the end of any travel/holiday journeys, you kick back at the end happy, satisfied and probably a little sleepy. The exceptional food will do that to you.
Head to Hakassan before the end of July to indulge in the Hakkasan In Bloom menu yourself.