8 Hanway Place, London, W1T 1HD
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Couples, Culture vultures, Foodies, Honeymooners, Design and architecture, Nightlife, People watching, Romance, Trendiness
Best for Romance - Expert review of Hakkasan
There are not many things that would tempt me to sit in darkness during the day, but lunch here is one of them. Hakkasan is set in a dimly-lit basement with ornate carved screens giving a wonderfully conspirational air. It was sold in 2008 to an Abu Dhabi investment firm but Chef Tong Chee Hwee remains in charge of the kitchen and I’ve not detected any drop in food quality.
Scallop shui mai (light steamed pork dumplings), sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, and turnip cake with egg and chives are among my yum cha favourites – I always ask for a dish of gai lan (a green vegetable) with salted fish and chillies too. In the evenings try the wonderful homemade tofu, sweet and sour Duke of Berkshire pork with pomegranate, spicy salad of Japanese mountain yam and bitter melon with XO sauce (a chilli-hot seafood sauce), and the signature roast silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey, which veers towards French cuisine. Sometimes my husband and I just drop by for a couple of cocktails – usually a saketini and one of the wonderful lychee concoctions.
Hakkasan is a modern, very sophisticated interpretation of a 1930s opium den. Doormen add an air of exclusivity in the evenings, when the bar is packed. Weekday lunchtimes see a media and business crowd, on weekends it’s a discerning family custom (though that’s rather incongruous given the sultry décor).
The hostesses are graciousness personified; waiting staff are formal, polite but not too friendly. The irritation is having to ask specially for the dim sum menu at lunchtime and, at the bar, getting a drink can take an age.
The discreet entrance is on a West End alley, behind Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.
You can eat and drink very well for £25 a head at lunchtime, but go in the evening or order à la carte and you can expect to pay £200 for two.
There is a new branch in Mayfair but it's something of a carbon copy and lacks the charm of the original ‐ see the website below for details.
More information on Hakkasan:
- Price guide:
- Bar, Restaurant
- Chinese, Modern
- 8 Hanway Place, London, W1T 1HD
- 020 7927 7000
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Restaurant Mon-Wed noon-3pm,6-11pm; Thur-Fri noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight; Sat noon-4pm, 6pm-midnight; Sun noon-4pm, 6-11pm. Bar Mon-Wed noon-12.30am, Thur-Sat noon-1.30am, Sun noon-midnight.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Essential at peak times
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Cantonese, Alan Yau