Christian Liaigre’s magnificent designs and Tong Chee Hwee’s magical food makes the experience at Hakkasan truly memorable and out of the
world, quite befitting to their glowing Michelin star …well except that it also creates a massive black hole in your money-bag.
It is not easy to find the restaurant in Hanway Place. The lack of visible sign-boards make the journey to the restaurant like a game of treasure hunt (Juliane 145, 2015). There is a fair amount of mystery surrounding its location and you soon realize that the feeling does not end there. As you open the
doors of the restaurant you enter into a dark mysterious orient dream. The blue lighting, the play with the colours, the dark wooden screens and latticing,
the black and gold panels all add to the mysterious aura of the place. It is creative and contagious in a ‘secret-society’ kind of way (Vera B,2015).
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I am seated on my table which is daringly close to the next one where two men in suits are having a quiet conversation. I am tempted to lean and listen and
that makes me instantly uncomfortable. The tables are too close to each other and around me are all groups of well-dressed and elegant people. As a blogger
from London said ‘The interiors are dimly lit enough for wisp thin socialites of the evening crowd to avoid interacting with the food without
attracting too much attention to the fact. There’s a lot of black leather, dark wood and deep pockets’. (Kazim, 2013). Bits of conversation
about the sublime and delicate dim sum floated into my ears and I ordered exactly that to start with. There is a strange sense of mystery and secrecy about
the place. Imagine if ‘Men in Black’ was shot in some of the sets from ‘Kill Bill’. I was almost expecting an action scene from a
Chinese movie or even a James Bond film to start unexpectedly in the middle of my meal and some writers who visited the restaurant before me seem to agree.
‘It looks like it could be some sort of high class opium den in the heart of Hong Kong’, one of them said. (Waters, 2011).
However, as soon as the food arrives you forget about everything else. The smell, colours taste and feel of the food take you on a journey to the far
corners of China. Now the dream is no more dark but beautifully tasteful. The food not only tastes fascinating but it appeals to each one of your senses.
The dim sum platter was truly sublime and delicate and they are definitely the best dim sums that I have ever encountered. A gentle cloud of smoke comes
out as soon as I open the steaming basket, then the aura fills my lungs and when I eat it, my taste buds start to tingle.
My journey continued and rendered me more speechless with every course. However due to the lack of great service the wait between each of my courses seemed
endless. As I waited impatiently, I witnessed impersonal waiters shuttling between tables and guests walking down the corridor which had turned itself into
a ‘makeshift runway’ (Kazim, 2013). However, that is not a surprise considering that it is one of the few restaurants in London that imposes a
dress-code. On the bottom of the website these words glare back at you, ‘Our dress code is smart casual. No sportswear. Jeans are permitted as long
as they are worn smartly with shoes and a collared shirt. Please do not wear hats inside Hakkasan’ (Hakkasan Hanway Place, N.D.).
I ordered the stir-fry rib-eye beef and asparagus with lemon-grass for main course. It was flawlessly presented and the taste was exquisite. Each component
complemented the other and the meat was so precisely cooked that it melted like butter on my tongue. I ended my meal with the chocolate and kalamansi
ganache. The perfect amount of citrus infused in the rich chocolate created an impeccable end to my star studded culinary experience.
Undeniably Hakkasan is special and sensual in its own mysterious ways. Even though the sight of the bill will momentarily burst your bubble, it is an
experience that will entice your taste buds and leave you begging for more.