Chinese New Year starts on 5thFebruary, but the celebrations are running nearly all month long. KM heads to Hakkasan to try out their celebratory Chinese New Year menu.
With yachts bobbing gently in the turquoise waters of the private marina, lobster on order and cocktail glass in hand, you could only be at Hakkasan at Emirates Palace. That easy style, the relaxed sophistication that is hallmark of the brand, is now offering an enticing Chinese New Year’s menu which cannot be beaten. And the good news? The limited signature feast which includes dishes from the recipe book of Executive Chef Lee Kok Hua, runs until 24thFebruary.
Dishes – and decorations – have been specially curated to celebrate the Spring Festival. As you walk into the restaurant’s stylish interior (all dark wood lattice screens and moody lighting) the divine smell of Chinese cooking guides you through the labyrinth pathways. Make sure you stroll onto the terrace as you’ll notice on the walls as you go, red and gold paper tied with ribbon, where guests are encouraged to write their wishes for the new year. As I sit and enjoy my welcome drink I watch the ribbons blow gently in the breeze. The restaurant looks beautiful.
But to the food! The meal begins with a bowl of Superior soup, featuring Chilean seabass and bamboo pith for a fun mix of textures and flavours. Next are some truly outstanding dim sum items, including a first-rate seafood sesame Jian Dui (a type of fried Chinese pastry made from rice flour, covered with sesame seeds with a delicious seafood assortment inside) and a Shacha chicken puff boasting pastry which is perfect in give and texture, and just elastic enough to encase generous bites of flavour-packed chicken.
The Peking Duck salad is equally as good; the melting tenderness of the duck contrasted with juicy mango and tangled crunchy greens drizzled with a sesame dressing is definitely something to remember and talk about.
The main course, however, has me most excited as I’m a huge fan of lobster and beef tenderloin and in true Hakkasan style, there is no skimping on either. The lobster is wok-fried and cooked in a chive paste. There is also some exquisite roasted jasmine chicken with crispy skin, a generous bowl of sticky rice, crunchy pak choi with two types of mushrooms – eryngii and pioppini – and a serving of delicious wok-fried lamb tenderloin with shiitake. As I look around at other tables, I can see that the sharing plates keep coming. A feast fit for a King using the finest of ingredients, it is also fantastic value for money.
But try to save room for the Wealth Pot – a dessert whose inspiration lies in traditional Chinese beliefs symbolizing good fortune – it’s a beautifully made chocolate sphere filled with chocolate chantilly, mandarin ice, fresh mandarin, caramel and a biscuit bottom. In short, it is divine and a celebratory indulgent treat.
To finish, the coffee comes, as do the macaroons. But not just your average macaroons – beautiful bronze/gold ones that truly melt in your mouth.
Verdict? A wonderful experience where the food and service are impeccable and one that is perfect to share.