The original Hakkasan, opened in 2001 and holder of a Michellin star since 2003. Tucked away in quiet turning off Tottenham Court Road, if you weren’t looking for it you’d probably miss it. As you enter there is the wonderful scent of burning essence that straight away transports you to Asia as you descend the stairs. The decor has been well thought out with partitions to give you the feel of a smaller restaurant. The lighting is bright enough that you can read the menu but dim enough to be intimate.
There were five of us in total so I was hoping we would get some dishes I’d not had before but no. We all wanted the same things!! Soft Shelled Crab and Prawn Toast. I totally get that as they are two superb starters, the prawn toast isn’t flat like the prawn toast you get in the supermarket, it’s big and its plump and its juicy (although I do prefer the Foie Gras version from Hakkasan Mayfair) and the Soft Shelled Crab with its deep fried egg yolk is amazing. So that I had something new to write about, I went for the Chrysanthemum Tofu and Lobster Consommé which was far easier to eat than it was to spell. Our Waiter warned me that it would smell quite fishy but when compared to the Prawn Cake from Hakkasan Mayfair it really didn’t. I thought it was a very light and delicate dish, the tofu just flaked apart and gave a lovely soft texture to the incredibly clear consommé. Would I order it again? Yes. Is it better than the Royal sweet corn soup with lobster and minced Gai lan from Hakkasan Mayfair? No, but it’s close.
When it came to the main courses we did get some variety, Bev went for her favourite Lobster in Spicy Black Bean Sauce and I went for the Duck with Black Truffle. We’ve noticed over our visits to both Hakkasan’s that the amount of chilli’s in your spicy black bean sauce varies from chef to chef, today he was erring on the mild side as there were considerably less than our last visit, I’m happy with that because too many easily over powers the delicate lobster. The remaining dishes picked by the rest of the table all suited me but not my Pesky Pescetarian, Chicken Satay, Mongolian Venison and Ribeye with Merlot. I’d had the Venison before and it’s a really good dish and the only reason I didn’t order it again was because my mate Steve had ordered it and I knew he’d want to share what I had gone for. The slices of venison were lovely and tender, coated in a sauce that was rich but not overpowering with a trace of spicy heat. The duck has a gorgeous crispy skin, the flesh was soft and moist but for me, visually it could have been pinker, it had the appearance of being cooked through although the texture said otherwise but we always eat with our eyes first. Both the Chicken and the Ribeye were very pleasant surprises, not things I would normally order, until now. If you want value at Hakkasan, order the Satay Chicken, there was loads of it and it was moist, full of flavor and texture and the peanut sauce didn’t over power it. The Ribeye was fantastic, the chunks of meat were juicy and tender and the sticky Merlot sauce covering it was a delight.
Sadly we didn’t have time for desserts as one of our party was performing at the Legendary Ronnie Scott’s and we had to make sure we made it in time to watch him, to be fair he was really good and worth cutting short our dinner for. I guess that means we’ve got an excuse to come back.
Adam & Beverley xx