Hakkasan Mayfair: 17 Bruton Street, London W1J 6QB
Food: Cantonese Cuisine
1 Michelin Star
I have loved Hakkasan ever since it first opened its doors in 2001 in Hanway Place. Back then (that makes me sound old!) the vegetarian options were fairly limited however over the years this has improved and gone from strength to strength.
We recently went to Hakkasan Mayfair (opened Nov 2010) to celebrate my birthday with the hubby and friends. They gained their Michelin star in Oct 2011 and have maintained it ever since. Located in Mayfair the restaurant spans two floors and seats up to 220 guests. The lower ground (where we were sat) is the more traditional intimate Hakkasan setting whilst the ground floor is more relaxed and has a buzzy bar area.
The design ethos of Hakkasan is modern ethnic, a look which spans across all its restaurants globally and having been to New York and Las Vegas Hakkasan I can confirm that they are on a par with the London ones when it comes to design, atmosphere and food.
So what to expect? Lots of wooden screens and latticing made of dark English oak, together with black and gold panels. The whole look and feel screams cool minimalistic decadence. So whilst some might say that the dark, moody décor is a tad pretentious – I personally love it and it makes me feel like I’m on a grown up night out without my girls (although I have no doubts that they would love it there).
Overall I have much love for Hakkasan (is it obvious!). But here are some key facts to help you decide.
Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee has been with Hakkasan since its inception and still works for them and oversees the kitchen and menu development. First things first there are so many different menus to choose from so really you can’t go wrong. Staff are good at guiding you as to their signature dishes and of course dietary requirements. As our group was largely made up of vegetarians we stuck to the veggie dishes.
The Vegetarian Dim Sum starter had four different dim sums to try (crystal dumpling, yam bean and shiitake dumpling, water chestnut dumpling, vegetable beancurd roll ) the taste of each dumpling, simple put was delicious.
The mains we ordered were amazing, especially the stir fry black pepper vegetarian chicken. I’m not going to lie this dish alone is worth the trip. It tasted so delicious and Hakkasan if you are reading this please could you teach me how to make it. I have no clue what was used for the mock chicken but the texture and taste was sublime – we all agreed that this was our favourite dish by far.
Some other dishes to try out as a veggie are the Tofu, Aubergine, Japanese Mushroom Claypot, the Three Style Mushroom Stir Fry, Egg Fried Rice and the Jasmine Rice.
You won’t be disappointed. It’s as simple as that. There are drinks to suit all. The cocktail list is amazing and there is an extensive choice. Also worth knowing that every Tuesday the head sommelier and his team conduct a wine tasting session trying out new wines and pairing them with at least four dishes from the menu. The wines have to work with all four dishes to make the cut. Now that’s a job I’d quite like! With this level of care and consideration you can rest assured that the wine you order will be amazing. We ordered a bottle of red and cocktails and there were no complaints (although there may have been a few headaches the next day – not mine might I add).
Despite it being a Saturday night and crazy busy the service was impeccable. Our waiter knew the menu and made recommendations on food and drinks I can safely say we have not had a bad experience to date – so long may this continue.
Can go from average to very expensive depending on what you order and drink. They have a great menu for £38 which includes a cocktail and a choice of starter, main and dessert so if you wanted to have a taster then you should go for this. This menu is available lunchtime and early evening.
We had an 8.30pm table booked on a Saturday night so as expected it was busy, buzzy and full of bling. The music is cool without being too loud, the lighting is just right (although some may find it too dark and too loud) and even after all these years the vibe is cool, trendy and hip. Great for people watching and if like me you love seeing what others are wearing then this place won’t disappoint.
All in all if you’ve never been to a Hakkasan you should definitely check it out. I am already trying to plan a date night just so I can eat that vegetarian chicken dish again!