Golden Week – Hakkasan, Hanway Place
The first thing that hits you is the smell – the spicy contents of a well-to-do lady’s perfume closet. Then the enveloping darkness as you descend into a glitzy labyrinth – the sort of mood-lighting that makes other date joints look like casual lunch spots. And then the elegant hostess who teases your coat from your hands and returns a transparent black plastic token slicker than a high roller chip. This place is meticulous at upholding the Hakkasan brand.
And what is that brand? Aside from luxury, Hakkasan is a Michelin-starred dining experience with an extremely sexy edge. It’s Chinese food in a boudoir setting, and a sure fire way to impress a date. Unlike pretentious style-over-substance joints, the crowd is a mix of people who have either loved it, en famille, for years or slick singles who use it as their first port of call for romance. Business dinners are conducted in a very Chinese way, with calm grace and good manners, while dates are conducted the only way they should be – with smouldering looks, delicate sips and the seductive feeding of dumplings.
Golden Week – 28th September – 18th October 2015
Hakkasan is currently celebrating the annual Chinese holiday with a limited edition signature menu to delight newcomers, and surprise old timers, of which there are many.
This menu is perfect for a boozy double date with your favourite couple. The tasting menu is made up of eight dishes and priced at £88.88. It’s all good, with a tender Angus rib-eye beef and lotus root as the highlight.
And to kick off proceedings, a POTENT Golden Iced Tea (Belvedere vodka, gin, tequila, rum, Cointreau, orchid tea syrup, peach bitters and Champagne).
Start with the Supreme Dim Sum Platter – lychee and lobster dumplings, abalone shumai with caviar, Alaskan king crab dumplings and dover sole dumplings with black truffle.
Then move onto a Sun-dried Anchovy and Taro Salad, with a pomegranate dressing. This was unlike anything I’ve tasted in a while, a strange combination between sticky/sweet and utterly delicate.
For the mains, it’s a Stone bass lion head in Royal Supreme sauce with golden enoki and dried scallop, Stir-fry Canadian lobster, divine rib-eye beef, and fried rice with abalone and seafood.
And for dessert? 3 divine Golden Macaroons, a delicate and creamy conclusion.
Your game is largely irrelevant here, since the Hakka empire have gone so far in creating a seductive assault on the senses. Aftershave is trumped by signature fragrances, clever make-up rendered pointless in the dim glow and expert chat eclipsed by tonnes of excellent food to tackle.
The only thing I advise is to get the dress code right – relaxed but expensive. Guys, focus on great shoes, nice jeans and a crisp shirt – just keep the work suit on if it’s a good one. Ladies, if it’s the weekend then go for a bodycon or cocktail number – not too trash, just one colour. Alternatively, the all black combo works a charm – blend in like a Scandi fashionista.
Meet at the table, so you can experience the descent alone. Stay for the allotted 2 hours and be pleasantly wafted to the bar where the real drinking happens. Taxi to Sketch for a nightcap and kiss like naughty kids by the egg shaped toilets in the coolest bathroom in London.
Get excited about the food and you’ll be too full to function. And perhaps out of pocket.
5. Coma dependent, of course.