james debate
james debate

Sunday 19 April 2009

Owner Alan Yau
Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee
Style Oriental Fusion
Michelin Star Rating 1/3
Price An arm and a leg

As someone who dines out as often as I do, it is pretty inexcusable that I don't review these places here on my blog for you loyal readers more often. Well that is about to change now, as I will review my recent meal at one of my favorite restaurants in the world, let alone London; Hakkasan.

hakkasan restaurant london

Few people who have been here would deny that it could be considered one of the best restaurants in London, and certainly no one disputes that it may in fact be the sexiest restaurant in all of London. Hidden away in a most unlikely location, down the back alleys off Tottenham Court Road, it is easy to get lost upon your first visit, or at least to think you're lost. However, persevere and you will find a mysterious descending stairwell with a conspicuously smartly dressed man standing outside. Indeed one might think at first that they are inadvertently stumbling onto some super secret, super luxurious crime syndicate headquarters.

Once inside, the lavish decor hits you. With charcoal slate walls, marble and subdued colored lights, the restaurant carries a luxurious science fiction aesthetic, with distinctly classic and traditional oriental undertones that create a simply unforgettable dining atmosphere.

The waitress brought over our snakeskin bound menus, one containing an extensive list of cocktails and wine to order from the generously proportioned bar area, the other containing the food menu. The whole establishment emanates an aura of sophistication and class. It couldn't be further removed from Alan Yau's other famous creation, Wagamama's, which is distinctly and unashamedly classless, but efficient.

The food itself is delightfully eclectic; full of classic chinese fare like dim sum and numerous seafood dishes, as well as eastern twists on western style dishes like ribeye steak and lobster. Much of it is delectable from what I have tried, although certain dishes were more effort than they were worth, like the king crab, which involved a lot of scrounging for small amount of meat (considering the price).

This particular time I ordered the silver cod, cooked in champagne and honey. Perhaps one of the greatest fish dishes ever made, the cod melts in your mouth, both sweet and savory at the same time, perfect in texture and flavor.

However the one black mark came at the end of the meal, when I got the bill. Admittedly We ordered a few cocktails, and a very expensive bottle of champagne (the price of which I was not made aware of by my dinner companion until the end of the meal), but that the price still came out to a hundred pounds per head was slightly over the top. Mind you I've been there other times and spent half as much, which is still pricey. If you're a student, make this one for special occasions.

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