Alan Yau has a collection of restaurants that serve dim sum and though I do feel that his selection is pretty much the same in his establishments (just with different price points and ambience) Yauatcha has always been a safe bet. However, recently my preference has geared slightly towards its more refined sister, Hakkasan.
Hakkasan Mayfair is dark, deep, and rather sexy. Go for lunch and it’s a little decent place for tête-à-têtes, go for dinner and there’s a massive level up on decibels and you might have to shout over your tables. But there’s a buzz about it I quite like. Like an open welcome to a good night ahead. Like secrets about to unravel.
The cocktail game here is decent enough (mostly £12.90), if you’re into potent flavoured “signature” sips. I personally prefer my drinks short and bitter but I won’t go to Hakkasan for drinks, anyway.
Dim Sum Lunch
The dim sum platter (£18.50) is a good start with a variety of plump, parcels of joy. Here we have two pieces of scallop shumai, har gau, Chinese chive dumpling, and duck and yam bean dumpling. It’s a good way to sample flavours but I’m partial to the prawns, because they were simple and simply delicious.
The stir-fry lettuce wrap (£10.90) is a texture party with beans, pine nuts, ‘shrooms and water chestnuts. Flavour-wise it’s a typically Asian dish with a big punch of peppery soy. I would have liked to have bigger, softer leaves, for wrapping though, like a butterhead lettuce instead of small gems.
The black truffle chicken roll (£8.50) is probably my favourite thing on the dim sum lunch menu. Truffle can be overrated, but used properly it’s pretty amazing. This roll had perfectly tender chicken wrapped in crispy taro and the sauce, speckled with truffle, had a nice depth of boldness that reminds me of Gunther’s (Singapore) gorgeous angel hair pasta. A sole pomegranate seed cuts through the richness. It just worked.
Siew long bun (£6.20) is standard, echoing Yauatcha’s King crab siew long bun, Hakkasan’s version is filled with pork and dried scallops. I actually prefer this, but Din Tai Fung’s XLBs are still far superior than anything I’ve had here in London.
There’s also good flavours in steamed king crab noodle roll (£9.90). It’s an interesting concept and the crab was properly meaty.
I’m a sucker for their prawn wontons (£5.20). They’re so moreish and it’s essential to note that the prawn flavour was not lost in all the heat from the sauce.
Salt and pepper squid (£13.90) is always a crowd pleaser and though I would’ve preferred a bit of a punch with the pepper, I like that Hakkasan’s offering wasn’t greasy at all.
Their Szechuan Mabo tofu with minced beef (£13.90) is quite good. The heat is mild and the tofu shines through. There’s enough meat to make it substantial and the flavour is decent.
The steamed Chilean seabass comes at £39.00 for two big fillets and you have a choice of soy sauce, black bean sauce, or ginger and spring onion - the last of which is probably the best. The fish is consistently well cooked and though it’s not as authentic as other Chinese resto offerings, it’s quite tasty.
Perhaps my least favourite in Hakkasan was the Alaskan royal king crab in black bean sauce. At £44.00 a pop, I would’ve thought it had more meat on it but was rather disappointed with portion size and taste. There was not enough ‘oomph’ to make you go ‘ahhh’.
Even the morning glory stir-fry in chilli, ginger (£12.80) fared better.
The tarte tatin (£9.20) was quite good and surprisingly, a nice end to a spiced meal. The layers of apple were so well done and the thin crisp layer of biscuit was surprisingly crispy. Ace dessert.
Overall, I like Hakkasan Mayfair a lot. In fact, I find it heaps better than it’s older sibling on Hanway Place. The vibe is cool and service (at least whenever I visit) has been consistently good. It’s not particularly the most authentic Chinese in town but it’s a pretty cool place to socialise and to have a good time. I suggest you go for the dim sum lunch so you can try more things and hear your date. But cocktails and dinner ain’t a bad idea either 😉
17 Bruton St, London W1J 6QB
Ave spend pp: £50
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I love the dim sum at Hakkasan and I also generally prefer the Mayfair branch to the Hanway place one 🙂
Me too, Angie! It’s just more buzzy and the service is fab!
Absolutely love the dim sum at Hakkasan Mayfair - as a vegetarian, it’s the best I’ve had… love the vibe at dinner too 🙂
Ooh, that’s quite a statement! =) I do like the vibe at dinner!
Curiouser and curiouser!
I’d happily come with! Haha! x
mmmmmm looks delish! I love dim sum on a Sunday - always makes me happy.
You have to tell me where the best dim sum is in town! x
The black truffle chicken roll sounds amazing! Hope you are well, Honey
It was so lush, Suze! We’ve yet to arrange drinks! x
I definitely drooled reading this post!
Haha, I drooled writing it, too! x
The food looks delicious! Really keen to try Hakkasan!
Great post 🙂
Oh Laura it’s quite good! I suggest the Mayfair branch for a bit more of a vibe. And better service!