Hakkasan is both a London restaurant and a global brand. Two London restaurants, as there’s a Mayfair Hakkasan and a Hanway Place Hakkasan – the latter being the original Hakkasan that opened in 2001.
To say things have gone well in the intervening two decades would be something of an understatement. Today, Hakkasan boasts 12 restaurants across three continents.
There’s a Hakkasan in Miami, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi. Doha, Mumbai, and Istanbul. Give it another 20 years and there might be a Hakkasan on the moon.
Las Vegas has a Hakkasan, obviously, although the Vegas Hakkasan is better known as a nightclub, one of the most celebrated in the world. Another Vegas megaclub, Omnia, is also owned by the Hakkasan Group. World domination isn’t so much an ambition as an ongoing process.
London is the only city to boast two Hakkasan – so go us! Our Hakkasans are also the only Hakksans to hold Michelin stars. Because ultimately, there’s a reason why Hakkasan has proved so successful. Yes, it’s opulanet; yes, it’s a status symbol; yes, the food is really bloody good.
What’s the vibe?
The line between Luxury 21st-Century Restaurant and Bond Villain’s Lair can be blurred at the best of times – and not because of too many vodka martinis.
Hakkasan Hanway Place really leans into its inner Blofeld by requiring patrons to descend downstairs into a shiny black basement that simultaneously manages to feel very restrained and eye-wateringly expensive. Mr Bond, you’re no longer in Sexy Fish.
The interiors were originally designed by renowned French architect Christian Liaigre, giving Hakkasan a touch of class that one doesn’t always associate with luxury hospitality venues.
The lighting is low and intimate, the furnishings dark and polished. It’s a shame the smoking ban happened because you’ll have a real urge to light up a Dunhill while leaning at the bar.
There’s music, I’m pretty certain, but damned if I was aware of it – now that’s some compliment. Despite its Transatlantic sibling, Hakkasan Hanway Place has no aspirations of being a nightclub. You’re here for the grub.
What to order?
Hakkasan is a Chinese restaurant, although calling Hakkasan a Chinese restaurant is a little like calling Lyanness a cocktail bar or The Savoy a hotel. There are levels, darling.
There are also copious set menus and our advice would be select the one that most appeals and let the chef do the rest. We opted for the Shou menu, which offers all the classics – steamed Dim Sum, crispy prawn, roasted silver cod, stir-fry ribeye beef. That all are fantastic goes without saying. Check your surroundings.
However the two standout dishes – and standing out on a Hakkasan table requires something really special – are both duck. The black truffle roasted duck, served with mushroom, and yes, typing out ‘truffle roasted duck’ is making my stomach rumble and my eyes glaze over. The crispy duck salad reads a tad less decadent but might possibly be even better – this is one of the Hakkasan staples and no order is complete without it.
Cocktails are grouped via emotional states, naturally – Passion, Captivation, Romance, Trust. (Alas, Trust doesn’t involve the mixologist making the drink blindfolded.) You’ll find varieties of the classics and also a few bespoke options. Choose depending on taste and the time of the evening.
What’s the damage?
Hakkasan isn’t cheap but the restaurant offers a range of price points. The aforementioned Sho menu is £108pp but you can up or downscale with the Pearl menu (£148pp) or Plum Blossom (£80pp). There’s even a Taste of Hakkasan menu that comes to a mere £34pp! The dish selection is limited and it’s only available at set times but £34 is still a steal – I’ve racked up bigger orders at my local Chinese takeaway.
Wine and sake is available by the glass and carafe, although if you fancy a bottle you’ll be adding £50 minimum to your bill. Cocktails cluster around the late teens, early twenties. One of the sakes comes to £470, one of the wines ten times that amount, and I’m sure there be monsters in the spirit section.
Yet as luxury global restaurant brands go, Hakkasan is more reasonable than most. You could feasibly escape with a bill below three figures. It’s far easier to leave with a bill that breaks four but hey, nice to have the option.
Anything else to note?
Fancy brunch? Hakkasan offer a brunch menu for £80pp that includes a cocktail and half a bottle of champagne! (Plus, you know, food stuff.) What a way to start the day.
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8 Hanway Pl, W1T 1HD; 17 Bruton St, W1J 6QB; Hakkasan