You may have noticed that there’s a particular restaurant group that has appeared several times on my blog…that is because Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant, Hakkasan is one of my favourite restaurants of all time. Ever since Mr S and I had our first dinner date in the Mayfair branch, we’ve returned again and again. Not only have we dined in both the London restaurants and the sister venues Sake No Hana, HKK and Yauatcha, we have also visited Hakkasan in New York, Miami and Vegas!
It’s safe to assume how much we love it and that’s because they have everything down to a fine art…food, service and atmosphere are all excellent. This time we were heading down to check out the Chinese New Year menu at Hakkasan in Hanway Place.
Hakkasan Hanway Place is the first ever Hakkasan; there are now twelves locations around the world and all of them are currently honouring the Chinese ‘Wishing Tree Tradition.’
Inspired by the tradition originating in Hong Kong, guests are invited to write their hopes and wishes on specially designed wishing ribbons placed around the restaurant. The wishes will be shared both on the Hakkasan Chinese New Year page and on the Hakkasan Wishes Instagram account.
The Chinese New Year, one of the most auspicious dates in the Chinese calendar, falls on the 19th of February this year and it will be celebrated all across China and the neighbouring countries. Each year is associated with a particular animal…this year being the Year of the Sheep, a sign of the zodiac that people like the most for it’s gentle and calm qualities…
…rather like some of the best qualities of this gentleman here ;). Apparently as the sheep can walk backwards or sideways but continue ever onwards it is a sign that 2015 will be a year for slow and steady progress.
I chose a Strawberry and Basil Martini containing Belvedere Vodka, strawberry liquer, fresh strawberries and basil leaves. My S went for a Rhubarb Margarita containing tequila, vanilla and Falernum liqueur, rhubarb, lime and a chilli vanilla rim. Both were delicious, I love the cocktails at Hakkasan as they’re light and refreshing without being too sweet.
Executive Head Chef, Tong Chee Hwee has developed a limited edition menu for the New Year celebrations that incorporates some of his signature dishes as well as interpretations of authentic Chinese New Year dishes.
The nine course special menu begins with the Dim Sum platter, which in the Year of the Sheep represents bringing happiness to your doorstep. This is my favourite dish at Hakkasan, and one of my favourite dishes of all time! The bamboo basket contains scallop shu mai, har gau, Chinese chive dumplings and celery prawn dim sum such fluffy, fat parcels of deliciousness. We were offered a choice of sauces, my favourite being the spicy chilli oil, and Mr S favouring a sweet chilli sauce.
A spicy lamb lupin wrap, represents happiness in the Year of the Sheep. I enjoyed the wraps, but it was Mr S who was in heaven especially enjoying the sauce, reminiscent of spicy barbecue. Lamb is also said to be loaded with hot ‘yang’ energy and is said to warm people throughout cold winters.
Next was a golden fried soft shell crab with red chilli and curry leaf. The crisp dish is another one of my favourites, and trust me there was not one crumb left when the waiter took the plate away. It’s a dish that can often be greasy but this version was perfectly prepared.
Next came the main courses:
Grilled Chilean sea bass in honey was my favourite of the main courses, definitely not too sweet and so silky and beautifully cooked.
Spicy prawn with lily bulb and almond was delicious and a perfect dish to share for a romantic meal, in fact Mr S and I had it on our first dinner date at Hakkasan, Mayfair.
Stir-fry black pepper rib eye beef was surprisingly light for a beef dish.
A tasty and spicy plate of greenery, stir-fry lily bulb and garlic shoot with preserved olives and dry chilli.
It may not be pretty but abalone and dry scallop fried rice was totally addictive and our attentive waiter was quick to top up our rice bowls. It is a dish that is said to bring good fortune and wealth in 2015, so maybe the more you eat, the more luck you’ll get 😉
The Wishing Tree is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years originating in the small village of Lam Tsuen in Hong Kong. Two ancient Banyan Trees near the Tin Hau Tample became known as sacred Wishing Trees.
People would burn joss sticks before writing their wishes down, tying them to a kumquat and then throwing the wish up into the branches of the trees. If the wish landed on a branch, it would come true and the higher the branch, the more likely it was to be fulfilled. We were presented with our own cool modern perspex tree with hanging kumquats as a representation of that tradition.
The dessert was also beautifully presented, as if blossoming off the branches of a tree. Said to sweeten the New Year, the final course was made up of chocolate, caramelised macademia and cocoa rocks. The chocolate itself was very rich and I think the dessert is best enjoyed with all the components on your fork together so that the more bitter ingredients can cut through the sweetness of the chocolate.
After the incredible meal we were presented with a gift inside a red envelope, as red is a lucky colour in China, representing joy, virtue and truth. I won’t ruin the surprise for you though!
The lion dance will be at the centre of the restaurant’s celebrations and will be performed on Sunday 22nd of February. The New Year menu will be available throughout February and is £88.88 per person.
8 Hanway Place
020 7927 7000
Our dinner at Hakkasan was complimentary but you know I love the place!