Duck and Champagne at HKK, The City
There’s something apocalyptic – or simply a bit trippy – about dating in the City on weekends. The place has been cleared of suits and all that remains is the odd hungover East Londoner, wandering over from Old Street in the perpetual hunt for food. Or, misinformed tourists who seem to think there’s something, anything, to do in this concrete playground.
Well chaps, there actually is. Weekends at HKK – a restaurant of Hakkasan lineage – makes a fantastic lunch date. Ever more so now there’s duck and champagne on the menu.
Enter a well lit room that fits around 50 covers (77 if you include the private dining). Lanterns hang over a central serving table in a room that is minimalist without being clinical. Sharp corners, soft spotlights. You’re likely to be seated amongst a smattering of sharply dressed couples and double dates settling into a very long lunch. And like most Hakkasan joints, you’d be forgiven for thinking there are more staff than punters, so waited on hand and foot are you.
The Duck and Champagne menu is the only thing you need to know about for Saturday dates. 4 divine courses for only £49. It goes like this: Blue crab salad, Cherry wood roasted Peking duck with black truffle mantou and caviar, then again with sesame pancakes. Duck and abalone stock with egg friend rice on the side.Your own duck will be carved up before you and presented in several guises, washed down with a bottle of Louis Roederer champagne. And to end, Nashi pear and champagne mousse with cotton candy and Champagne mousse.
Meet them at the restaurant, as it’s not easy to find and fumbling around together on Google maps ain’t a good start to proceedings. Dress in slouchy-smart attire, cut out of suave materials like lily-white cotton or gray silks,and baggy enough to eat in. As this is a boozy day date, make sure you are well rested and glowing. This isn’t the place for the hungover. Keep conversation light and lazy, refrain from gulping champagne and stop the drinking once the bottle is done. Insert the flirt around dessert by suggesting you make an afternoon of things.Then leave for the bathroom to let them mull it over.
Take a few bites of dessert, settle up and call an Uber before they know what’s going on. Then head to Blixen in Spitalfields for casual Negronis at the bar and kiss once it gets dark outside.
While the lights are soft, they only mask some sins so make sure you scrub up for this one.
Solid 4. It would be a travesty to party ways after the lunch.