Multiple Michelin star winning global brand Hakkasan has long been synonymous with luxurious, contemporary Cantonese cuisine and boasts an enviable location at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace. With a sophisticated bar and lounge, stunning outdoor terrace, intimate restaurant and four sumptuous private dining areas, there are ample opportunities for a memorable evening at Hakkasan.
Khaleej Madame went along to indulge in the seasonal Taste of Hakkasan menu, a tempting selection of small eats, soups, main courses and desserts, including premium dishes specially recommended by Chef de Cuisine, Andy Toh.
The long, elegant bar is well-stocked, the slate background lit strikingly with gently swirling blue lights. Even though we are here to sample the Taste of Hakkasan menu, we cannot resist the tantalising cocktail menu! Our expert mixologist whips up a Nashi Collins. It is delectable, thirst-quenching and perfectly balanced; an absolute treat on a Summer’s evening. The Plum Sour is as pretty as a picture, topped with a gorgeous purple orchid.
We could stay there all night enjoying the relaxed, cool vibe, but we are shown to our table in the beautifully designed restaurant space, with cosy eating areas of marble-top tables and embroidered seating, all encased in exquisitely carved wooden lattice walls.
Our delightful and knowledgeable waitress explains the concept of the Taste of Hakkasan menu: four courses and a cocktail, with a choice of soup, starter, main course and dessert. We opt for the Plush welcome cocktail. It tastes as lovely as it looks, elegantly served in a coupette, garnished with an orchid petal.
From the choice of three soups: sweetcorn soup with crab meat, hot and sour chicken soup and Chinese wild mushroom soup, we opt for the latter two. The hot and sour chicken soup has a good kick, but is a little thick and heavy for the beginning of a meal. The wild mushroom broth, on the other hand, is light and refreshing, containing a generous assortment of exciting-looking wild mushrooms, most of which we have never seen before.
Our appetites whetted, we welcome the arrival of the next course. The Chef selection of dim sum is traditionally presented in a steaming basket; three delicious morsels are enough to leave us wanting more. The crispy duck salad with pomelo, pine nut and shallot is stunning; skillfully mixed and served at our table, the duck is fried crisp, but still perfectly succulent, balanced impeccably with crisp pine nuts and tiny pomegranate and pomelo fruit jewels, bursting with juice.
As we sit back and take in the busying atmosphere, we muse the good value of this seasonal menu, designed for early evening gatherings during the Summer months. After the first two courses, we are already feeling fairly full, but we are keen to see what mouth-watering treats still await us. With temptations such as wok-fry tomato wild prawn with pineapple, steamed red snapper with yellow bean and fresh chilli sauce, and stir-fry king po roasted duck on offer giving diners the opportunity to taste dishes from the à la carte menu, we are spoilt for choice.
The crispy Wagyu beef with mooil in osmanthus sauce, sounds enticing. Accompanied with jasmine rice delicately served by our charming waitress, the beef is both crisp and tender, while the osmanthus sauce is sticky and tasty, however, we discuss whether the prime Wagyu beef is rather overwhelmed by the sauce and not given the chance to shine that it deserves. There are a few appealing options for vegetarians, such as tofu and aubergine clay pot in black bean sauce with shitake mushrooms, as well as stir-fry vegetarian chicken with cloud ear, celery and bamboo shoot, but we opt for the intriguing-sounding stir-fry lily bulb and garlic shoot with preserved olive and dry chilli. It does not disappoint as an excellent complementary dish for the beef; the garlic shoots and lily bulb are wonderfully crunchy, enrobed in a subtle garlicky infused oil.
Finishing off our fruity cocktails, we feel that we cannot possibly have room for more, but with a dessert included in the menu, we reason it would be simply rude of us not to avail ourselves of the dessert choices! Usually, the chocolate fondant with banana ice cream would have been the clear winner for us, but after the richness of the main course, we determine that the homemade sorbets are a better alternative. The trio of apricot, cherry, and vanilla and peach sorbets are the ideal palette cleanser, attractively served quenelles on a bed of crispy wafer crumb – (almost) guilt-free pudding heaven!