Fashion and food. Two things we can’t get enough of. Combining them isn’t a new trend but it’s an enduringly good one if Hakkasan’s new collaboration is anything to go by.
This Autumn, Hakkasan, the original luxury Cantonese restaurant, has partnered with Lucy Choi, Jimmy Choo’s niece, to create a new fashion-focussed menu inspired by Lucy’s ‘Hakkasan Collection’, a capsule collection of opulent footwear reflective of Hakkasan’s luxurious and stylish atmosphere. Available until 17th November at Hakkasan’s Hanway Place and Mayfair locations it’s £90, or £70 for the vegetarian menu alternative and includes a range of Hakkasan’s most popular signature dishes.
We visit one week-day lunchtime and it’s buzzy but not too full in the restaurant. Walking to a comfy banquette we pass eye-catching displays of Lucy’s shoes, reflecting the importance of the colour red in Chinese culture, and of course complementing the predominately black wood features of the restaurant. We swiftly get to work on the signature cocktail, the Choi Ling, a blend of Tanqueray No 10 gin with Sipsmith Sloe gin, lemon sherbet, rhubarb and Ruinart rosé champagne. Gin and Champagne being two of Lucy’s favourite drinks apparently, I am fully behind this deliciously pretty drink!
Set the scene
The set menu is small but perfectly formed and it means no arguing over who orders what (we have terrible FOMO when eating out so have to share everything). Dim sum arrives in a bamboo basket; the colours are amazing and it’s a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds; chunky, fresh and subtly seasoned langoustine, peppery and tender crab, swordfish with water chestnut, and wild mushroom in a delicate pink dumpling. A crispy duck salad is an interesting take on a classic dish; served with fresh and fragrant watercress and pine nuts. It’s certainly the healthiest way I’ve ever eaten duck.
Cocktail finished, and with the guidance of the very knowledgeable sommelier who helps us navigate the enormous wine list, we order a bottle of 2016 Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent. With green apple and floral scents, it’s the perfect addition to our meal.
But onto our mains without further ado; we tuck into stir-fry black pepper rib-eye beef served with shiitake mushrooms, chillis and lily bulb. It’s superbly tender but the first thing that hits us is the flavour which we can’t help but liken to a more refined black bean sauce. Grilled Chilean seabass in honey is tender and melts in the mouth. Buttery and succulent, served with tender stem broccoli, it’s worthy of several minutes’ silence at our table as we do it justice. Next up are huge, plump prawns in a Malaysian-style yellow curry that belies its potency – it looks innocent but has a spicy chilli kick.
Dessert is presented in the most spectacular manner; a shoebox is brought to the table and within that is black tea and yuzu poached pear, with almond crumble and white chocolate dulce mousse; ginger tea is poured over it from a beautiful Chinese teapot. There’s also a pear sorbet with white chocolate pop-stick which is stored inside a teapot.
One of the most Instagram-worthy meals one can possibly have, as the presentation is so on point, yet you have to taste it to believe it. This special menu is only on until mid-November, so hurry along and enjoy it while you have the chance. Hakkasan may have been on the block for a few years now, but with such fabulous food, service, decor and fashion-led collaborations, it never gets old.