Hakkasan @ Hanway Place

Address: 8 Hanway Pl, London


Phone: 44 20 7927 7000
I like Hakkasan. Never mind that the restaurant has often been classified as "westernized" Chinese restaurant, the food is actually very familiar and yet creative. Quite often, chefs/restauranteurs who tried to create modern Chinese restaurants in the West got it all wrong; trying to create a haute Chinese restaurant without understanding the true origin of the cuisine, and the palate of the Chinese people often resulting in one dimensional and soulless Chinese restaurant. Sadly, New York City seems to have tons of these type of restaurants, for some reasons. But not Hakkasan, it is modern but really authentic at the core. The restaurant is sometimes called the Chinese Nobu of London, but honestly I feel it is better than Nobu (Sorry Robert DeNiro). I've heard about Hakkasan for as long as I can remember. Even though Alan Yau, the founder of the restaurant no longer owns it, head chef Tong Chee Hwee who has been running the kitchen since its inception in 2001 is still there. You can count on Chef Tong to continue serving his Michelin Star world class modern Chinese cuisine.

One word to sum up Hakkasan menu - exciting! I don't think I was able to contain my excitement looking at the menu, as there were so many interesting dishes to choose from. Hakkasan menu is a modern adaptation of traditional Chinese dishes that I am somewhat familiar with, but it sounds more fascinating than the traditional ones. Taste wise, it was even more satisfying. Roasted Silver Cod with Champagne and honey is chef Tong's answer to Nobu's famous Miso Cod. I think that Hakkasan's version is much better using Champagne and Honey! How can you go wrong with that combo? It's a lot more subtler than the Nobu version but still gives you the delicate balance between the sweetness of the honey and the tanginess from the champagne. I also really enjoyed the stir fry Venison dish we ordered. I remember growing up eating Venison in some restaurants in my hometown but haven't had it since I left Malaysia. Hakkasan cooked the meat perfectly, so tender and juicy. The dish that really surprised me most was the Japanese tofu with blue swimmer crab toban. A nice touch of vinegar made the tofu dish very appetizing. I could eat this tofu dish with rice anytime! Salt and pepper squid and ostrich wrapped in lotus leaf was really nice as well.

My only complain is that food photography is not permitted at the restaurant and the manager was so serious about it. I'm still puzzled as to why not? Are they not confident of their own dish? Other than that, I would say two thumbs up for Hakkasan! If only there are more modern Chinese restaurant like that in New York City! With that said, Hakkasan should have opened its first shop in the US in New York City instead of Miami. There's such a void in exciting high end, high quality modern Chinese restaurant here. Hopefully Tasameem, the Abu Dhabi-controlled property fund which owns Hakkasan will include New York City in its next expansion plan.
didn't get a chance to snap better photos of the dishes since the manager at the restaurant prohibits it. clockwise from the top: roasted silver cod with champagne and honey, stir fry venison, japanese tofu with blue swimmer crab toban, ostrich wrapped in lotus leaf, and salt and pepper squid.

Hakkasan on Urbanspoon


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