Mr Applegroupie and I were treated last week to a belated birthday meal at the Michelin star Hakkasan restaurant by our daughter and son-in-law. Mr A. and I have never crossed the threshold of a Michelin star restaurant before, even though we have had gastronomic experiences on Cunard cruise ships.
Hakkasan serves modern Cantonese cuisine and was opened by the same people behind the Wagamama Japanese chain. It now has 12 worldwide branches in Shanghai, Dubai, Doha, Miami, Mumbai, New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Beverley Hills as well as the two in London. We dined at the branch in Hanway Place. The other is in Mayfair.
Michelin star menus don’t come cheap. Hakkasan’s set menus start from £40 to £128 per person and the sky is the limit with their a la carte menu. However, between 5.30pm to 6.30pm they offer a Taste of Hakkasan menu for £38 per person which includes one of their signature cocktails.
Our table was booked for 6pm. Hanway Place is just behind Tottenham Court Road, a short walk from the tube station. The restaurant itself is in the basement, having walked down a long flight of steps. I thought I was entering a nightclub. There were three young ladies at reception to check our reservation then we were led to our table.
After the bright reception area the interior of restaurant was rather dark, with only overhead lights which dangle from the ceiling so that one can see what one is eating I suppose.
We asked and were given the Taste of Hakkasan menu. As it was a taster menu there were not that many choices on the menu so it didn’t take us long to decide what to choose from the menu.
Both son-in-law and myself chose the Hakka cocktail. Daughter chose the non-alcoholic cocktail, Kowloon Cooler, a blend of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, lychee, apple, cranberry and lemonade and Mr A. chose the Lychee Martini.
We all chose the Dim Sum selection for our starters and Stir Fry Black Pepper Rib Eye Beef with Merlot for our main. For dessert, three of us chose the Jivara bomb which was a bomb shaped milk chocolate, hazelnut praline coated with rice krispies then drizzed with a chocolate sauce at the table. So-in-law chose the Chocolate and Olive Oil Ganache which was raspberry sorbet, candied olives and bitter chocolate.
The dim sum selection arrived in individual bamboo baskets on an oblong tray and they were very tasty. I was disappointed with the size of the main course. The stir fry rib eye beef was served with asparagus and white boiled rice. If not for the portion of rice, I think I would still be hungry as there was not much of the beef. The dessert was yummy and a generous size portion.
By the time we finished our meal which was around 7.30pm the restaurant was three-quarters full and this was on a Tuesday night!
Did I enjoy my meal? Yes I did. Was it worth it? No, if only the portion of the main course were larger, i.e. a whole piece of steak rather than strips of steak. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of dining at a Michelin restaurant even though the cost of the meal, including the 13.5% service charge for just Mr A. and myself cost more than we spend on a week‘s grocery shopping. Just think what a lot of rib eye steak I can buy for that!
(Apologies for quality of photos, the lighting was just too dimmed to take decent photos.)