Hakkasan has been on my radar for almost as long as I’ve been in Dubai- 2 years. You can insert my Asian food chant here. In my defense, (a) 2 years in Dubai feel like 2 months, (b)there are SO. MANY restaurants in Dubai, the list of places to try just never gets diminishes, and (c) a quick glance at the “approximate price for two” section on Zomato made my eyes pop out and shelf Hakkasan for a “special occasion”.
Recently however, they’ve introduced a reasonable set menu dubbed Taste of Hakkasan, which allows for a nice meal that you can still dress up for and look forward to but doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket. For AED 188, you can have a soup, starter, main course, dessert and cocktail/mocktail.
Last Thursday, M and I decided to finally cross Hakkasan off our restaurant bucket list, but only to pen it down on our list of places to regularly visit henceforth as a great option for modern Chinese cuisine.
I could sense a cold coming on, so I passed on the mocktails and went straight for the soup. According to M, I didn’t miss out on much as he had two mocktails and wasn’t overly impressed by either of the. As for the soup, we could pick between a Chicken and Sweetcorn soup, or the soup of the day, and went for one of each. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better, but the former was hearty and comforting and just what a cold needs. The latter was a clear chicken broth with bamboo shoot, young ginger, chicken, goji berries and a whole lot of depth.
For the starters, M chose a Crispy Duck Salad, while I picked the Seabass Shu Mai (but of course). This was not a traditional shu mai and hence I loved it. However in terms of value for money (it was only 2 pieces), the more generously portioned crispy duck salad was a much better pick. Not just that though, it was one of the best crispy duck salads I’ve ever, if not THE best. With pomelo, pomegranate, watercress, pine nuts, meaty chunks of batter-fried duck and pine nuts, this was clearly the winner.
For mains we picked an order of the Spicy Prawns (which were totally mild) but had a deep coconutty broth. The Chicken Claypot (our second choice) was much spicier and packed so much depth and oomph. I absolutely loved it. It also burnt my hand since I clearly ignored the server’s warning on how the dish is “extremely hot”. He really wasn’t kidding. It’s time’s like these (when I shriek and knock some cutlery off the table) that M totally pretends not to know me. Anyway, both of these were served with a side of steamed jasmine rice.
By the time we were done with mains, it was evident why this place is so popular and has become a time honored establishment.
The options for dessert were less diverse. Our options were ice cream, sorbets, fresh fruit, and only one truly indulgent option: the Hazelnut Jivara Bomb. This was basically like a hazelnut mousse ball encrusted in pop rocks that popped on contact. This wasn’t as heavy as I expected it to be but I didn’t enjoy the pop rock sensation, whereas M loved it.
I asked them if they had any other options as I didn’t want the fruit or the ice cream or the sorbets, so the chef was kind enough to send me a Chocolate Marquis. This was a super duper rich and extremely chocolatey and dense chocolate log with a raspberry sorbet. I wasn’t too crazy about this either, really.
Overall, I felt that the portions could have been a little larger for a more satisfying meal, or perhaps if I had enjoyed/finished my dessert, I would have felt more full. Either way, the set menu is a great bargain and the savory options were fabulously delicious. Would I recommend this set menu to others? I guess if you’re looking for a delicious but light modern Chinese meal. Would I recommend Hakkasan to others? Most defintiely.
You can make a reservation on 04 3848484