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Hakkasan Mayfair

Rating: 90.
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After opening their first restaurant (Hakkasan Hanway Place) in London in 2001, the Hakkasan restaurant group has opened restaurants all over the world: Miami, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Mumbai and the latest addition to their collection was a New York City restaurant earlier this month. Hakkasan's second restaurant in London, Hakkasan Mayfair opened its doors in November 2010. Both Hakkasans in London have been awarded a Michelin star; the Mayfair branch was awarded its star last October. Hakkasan Mayfair really has a very special feel and vibe to it; as soon as you walk in, you are lured into the secret world of Hakkasan, which you hardly notice from the outside.

Hakkasan Mayfair is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. You can choose between various signature tasting menus ranging from £50 to £130, including a vegetarian one, a set lunch menu (3 courses for £50) and an a la carte menu. Hakkasan is also well-known for having an extensive dim sum selection on the menu. I had lunch there on Sunday 8 April 2012 and my husband (mr X) and I both ordered dishes from the a la carte menu.

As a first course we both had chosen soup. I had the Supreme seafood soup with sea cucumber, dried scallop and blue swimmer crab.
A very elegant soup with a lovely thick consistency. Wonderful subtle fish flavours and a hint of ginger and spring onion. I had added some vinegar and chilli sauce that was served with the soup, which enhanced all the flavours.

Mr X had the Hot and Sour soup with chicken, shiitake and pomelo. A wonderful soup with pure and clean flavours and great texture from the chicken and shiitake and again the chilli sauce enhanced the flavours very nicely.

Next we had a dim sum selection, 4 each, one with prawn, one with scallop, shumai and tobiko caviar, one with prawn, crab and wolfberry and one with shimeji mushrooms. I'm not an expert when it comes to dim sum but to my mind these were divine. All four had incredibly fresh flavours, the prawn, crab and scallop used were clearly top-quality, I wish all scallops tasted this good. Beautiful presentation too.

As a main course we ordered 3 dishes to share. A fish dish, Grilled Chilean sea bass in Chinese honey served with some deep-fried mushrooms on top. A superb piece of sea bass that was succulent and moist. Perfectly cooked and so much flavour. The caramelisation on the fish was really beautiful. Perfect touch of sweetness from the honey. The word unctuous comes to mind, a word that I not necessarily associate with fish. Fabulous.

Then a beef dish, Grilled Wagyu beef with enoki mushrooms and a garlic and soy dipping sauce. The beauty of this dish was in the eating rather than in the presentation. Incredibly succulent beef served with a delicious sauce and a lovely combination with the mushrooms and sliced red onion. With the beef and fish dishes we had ordered Udon noodles with duck, XO sauce, bean sprouts, yellow chives. Terrific thick noodles but the duck did not really seem to make its mark. The XO sauce provided a lovely spicy finish.

Time for dessert. Lemon tart, meringue, lemon ice cream, candied lemon zest, white chocolate. An excellent lemon tart: well-made buttery base, wonderful creamy and zingy lemon filling, as was the ice cream. Lovely meringue-sesame cylinders. 

Slightly unusually perhaps, I ordered one more course after dessert. During my meal I had spotted these rather wonderful and, as I was later told, legendary Venison puffs. I just had to try them and they were gorgeous. Perfect flaky pastry with a marvelous venison filling.

Hakkasan Mayfair delivers what it promises: high-end modern Chinese cuisine. The food and service at Hakkasan are exemplary. Beautiful cooking with finesse and skill on all levels and very attentive front of house. I was especially impressed with the quality of the ingredients. After my meal I had brief look around in the impressive kitchens and one gets the impression that they would be perfectly able to deliver the same quality that I enjoyed during a relatively quiet lunch service, if the place were packed to capacity with 225 diners. O, and they do that 364 days a year: Father Christmas is the only person capable of closing this restaurant down.

Hakkasan Mayfair on Urbanspoon

Posted 24-04-2012


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