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article imageReview: Hakkasan, the ultimate Chinese-fusion experience in London Special

By Tim Sandle     Oct 11, 2015 in Food
London - Hakkasan is a fairly new Chinese-style fusion restaurant located in London's plush Mayfair district. The atmosphere is vibrant and the food exciting, as we discover in Digital Journal's latest restaurant review.
Hakkasan is an upmarket Chinese restaurant in London (there are two establishments, with this review relating to the one found in Mayfair.) The Michelin starred establishment was set-up by Christian Liaigre and with dishes developed by Tong Chee Hwee, a recipient of the Tio Pepe ITV Restaurant Awards.
The bar at the Hakkasan in Mayfair. Genius mixologists at work!
The bar at the Hakkasan in Mayfair. Genius mixologists at work!
On arrival we were directed to the bar. Here three expert mixologist set to work on creating the cocktails we selected from an extensive list. Our choices were a Smoky Negroni, Hakka, and a dirty martini.
The Smoky Negroni was an enticing mix of Suntory Hakushu 12 year-old whisky, Japanese plum sake, Campari, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, with an Ardbeg 10 year-old whisky mist. It came served with a larger, spherical ice cube.
This smoky whisky riff on the negroni theme is a perfect cocktail.
This smoky whisky riff on the negroni theme is a perfect cocktail.
The Hakka was a cocktail made up of Belvedere vodka, Akashi-tai sake, lychee juice, lime, coconut and passion fruit.
One of Hakkasan s superb cocktails  replete with a sour cherry.
One of Hakkasan's superb cocktails, replete with a sour cherry.
The dirty martini was very strong, with a well-balanced olive taste. Just perfect for sipping, whilst chatting and listening to the mix of ambient, electronic and jazz-funk sounds reverberating through the establishment.
Dirty Martini  with gin  dry vermouth  olive juice and olives.
Dirty Martini, with gin, dry vermouth, olive juice and olives.
The restaurant is decorated with a stylish interior (all dark wood lattice screens and moody lighting). Although the interior is chic, the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable about the food and drink in offer.
Hakkasan is an upscale  modern Chinese restaurant in the West End of London.
Hakkasan is an upscale, modern Chinese restaurant in the West End of London.
After sufficient time had passed for an aperitif (or two), we were shown to our table. The menu range is extensive, with many enticing dishes, each one a modern take on authentic Cantonese dishes. After a little deliberation we settled on our starters (listed as 'small plates' in the menu.)
One of our party selected Crispy duck roll.
Delicate duck rolls served at Hakkasan Mayfair  London.
Delicate duck rolls served at Hakkasan Mayfair, London.
A second choice was Morel mushroom and vegetable spring roll. Morels are highly prized by gourmet cooks; they have a honeycomb texture and rich earthy flavor.
Light and crispy mushroom rolls  served with edamame beans (a preparation of immature soybeans.)
Light and crispy mushroom rolls, served with edamame beans (a preparation of immature soybeans.)
My selection was Stir-fry vegetable lettuce wrap. This consisted of various vegetables with soya delivered in an oval bamboo mesh, served with lettuce leaves. Scooping up the mix and delicately placing it onto the lettuce produce an welcoming combination of flavors.
Tofu  aubergine and Japanese mushroom claypot 
with homemade tofu  chilli and black bean sauce.
Tofu, aubergine and Japanese mushroom claypot with homemade tofu, chilli and black bean sauce.
With the main courses, one person selected Jasmine tea smoked chicken, which came in a rich, smooth sauce.
Jasmine tea smoked chicken  in a spicy sauce.
Jasmine tea smoked chicken, in a spicy sauce.
Another selection was Szechuan Mabo tofu with minced beef.
Szechuan cuisine often contains food preserved through pickling  salting  and drying and is generall...
Szechuan cuisine often contains food preserved through pickling, salting, and drying and is generally spicy owing to heavy application of chili oil.
A party enjoying the delicious food on offer at Hakkasan Mayfair  London.
A party enjoying the delicious food on offer at Hakkasan Mayfair, London.
My choice was tofu, aubergine and Japanese mushroom claypot. This was delicious, served with homemade tofu, chili and black bean sauce.
Tofu  also known as bean curd  can be marinated to make a superb range of dishes.
Tofu, also known as bean curd, can be marinated to make a superb range of dishes.
Characteristic blue china plates  at Hakkasan Mayfair. This is typically white pottery and porcelain...
Characteristic blue china plates, at Hakkasan Mayfair. This is typically white pottery and porcelain decorated under the glaze with a blue pigment, generally cobalt oxide.
These were accompanied with Mui choi glutinous rice. Mui choi are preserved mustard greens made from large mustard leaves, which have a slightly bitter taste. This rice was fairly heavy, so only a small amount was needed. Nevertheless it had a tasty nutty-like flavor, just perfect for complementing the sweetness of some of the other dishes.
A portion of mui choi glutinous rice. A tasty  earthy rice.
A portion of mui choi glutinous rice. A tasty, earthy rice.
There was also a delicious side-dish of stir-fried vegetables. These were served al dente: crisp, tasty and nutritious.
Morning glory stir-fry in chilli  ginger and preserved beancurd sauce.
Morning glory stir-fry in chilli, ginger and preserved beancurd sauce.
For desert, two of the party plumbed for macarons. These came in a bamboo basket, presented as a dazzling array of colors with tasty fillings, including lemon, almond, chocolate and a velvety violet concoction.
A macaron  a French desert  is commonly filled with ganache  buttercream or jam filling sandwiched b...
A macaron, a French desert, is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies.
My selection was an apple tarte tatin. This was wonderfully soft, almost melting in the mouth.
A tasty dish  the apples are caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.
A tasty dish, the apples are caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.
These scrumptious deserts were served with either Chinese tea (jasmine), which my two guests selected; or a dram of whisky, which was my choice. This was a 10 year-old Talisker (from the Isle of Skye, in Scotland.)
Talikser whisky - a brimful of coastal power  peat and elegance.
Talikser whisky - a brimful of coastal power, peat and elegance.
Jasmine tea  popular in China  is a tea scented with aroma from jasmine blossoms. This makes a delic...
Jasmine tea, popular in China, is a tea scented with aroma from jasmine blossoms. This makes a delicately a scented tea.
Hakkasan is not your every-day Chinese restaurant and it comes with a central London price-tag. However, if you want something different, fun and flavorsome it is somewhere well worth spending the evening.
An embroidered Chinese dragon  which decorates the sofas at Hakkasan Mayfair  London.
An embroidered Chinese dragon, which decorates the sofas at Hakkasan Mayfair, London.
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