I am always so surprised that Hakkasan receives such little praise for their dim sum. Let’s move on from the fact that it’s expensive – though no more so than Yauatcha or Royal China Club; and agreed it’s not the kind of place you go for a weekly family dim sum fix. But there is no questioning that it’s good.
Hakkasan to me defines expertly prepared Michelin starred dim sum, often taken to the next level. True, the food is not always the most traditional rendition of a dish, but the flavour profile is there. I hate the no-photo policy, but like everyone tried to get in a few sneaky shots. I found it a little easier as it was lunch time and there were few people around, however as food arrived, the restaurant got busier so we weren’t able to capture too much.
My last visit was over the weekend for a cheeky Sunday lunch. Joined by 2 others we turned up at 12 midday expecting to be the first in the restaurant. We actually were making jokes about it walking up the lane to the entrance so we were disappointed to find that a huge table for 20 had beaten us to it.
The dining room is dim, even during the day, but the familiar feeling of walking into an opium den got us all excited for the meal ahead.
As we were technically at yum cha, we though it only right to order tea especially when presented with a pretty large selection of teams. I know a few people have complained at the price of tea (from £4 a pot) at Hakkasan, but I don’t have a problem paying for a properly brewed cup of tea. Apparently Hakkasan brews each of their individual teas to precise instructions, which means you don’t have to deal with half a pot of bitter tea when it’s over brewed. Yes it’s annoying that you have to pay for another pot when its all finished, but good tea deserves to be drunk the right way. Our four seasons oolong tea was light, not at all bitter and very easy to drink.
We ordered a selection of both dishes from the main menu as well as dim sum favourites. To start off our meal, we each ordered a Steamed Scottish Diver scallop served with XO and vermicelli. The scallop was absolutely huge and was perfectly plump, juicy and well cooked.
Scallop Shu Mai and Har Gau soon followed and the oversized portion theme continued with plump scallops and giant prawns. Both well cooked, skin delicate.
A few main dishes arrived next. The first dish was probably the best-prepared salt and pepper squid I have ever eaten. Tender, crisp squid covered in delicious fried garlic that I couldn’t get enough of. I wish I could have taken a photo of it just to savour the memory (damn no photo policy).
Next jasmine tea-smoked ribs, were juicy, fall apart in your mouth pork ribs exactly as I envisioned they would be.
Xiao Long Bao Shanghai steamed dumplings had a delicate skin. Mine unfortunately popped as I was taking it out of the basket so I lost of the broth inside, but the bit that I did get was rich and delicious.
Our steamed mushroom cheung fun noodles were tasty but lacked a bit of the wow factor that we found in many of the previous dishes.
We finished off our meal sharing desserts of peanut sesame balls as well as a mango parfait which we really didn’t need, but were tasty nonetheless.
Service was efficient and the restaurant was in no way as busy as it is at dinner time which was nice, as you don’t feel rushed by a 2 hour out by policy. Dim sum was definitely top-notch, and whilst I couldn’t afford to come here every week, I wouldn’t object if I could. Unfortunately I don’t know if I’ll be able to get the thought of that giant scallop out of my head anytime soon, so I might be back sooner than I think! Approximately £100 for three including drinks and service.