Hakkasan, Hanway Place, London

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Hakkasan is one of these world events – a chain of restaurants expanding into all the major locations. Mumbai, Abu Dhabi, San Francisco, Las Vegas…you get the picture. However, before the quest for world domination, the Hanway Place one was the original, opening in 2001, just off the Tottenham Court Road/Oxford Street junction. As a refreshing change from the very carefully designed plates of modern european cooking that symbolises Michelin-starred food, this offers very carefully designed plates of Cantonese food.

In 2001, Hakkasan changed the face of Chinese cuisine. The menu offering has a strong Chinese identity, yet, conveys an ethos of cooking that is informed by an innovative approach, underpinned by authenticity rather than traditionalism. This modern validity is the raison d’etre of Hakkasan’s alluring menu, including signature dishes such as the Crispy duck salad, Hakka steamed dim sum platter and the Jasmine tea smoked short rib.

OK, the web site is clearly designed to be smart but just comes across as dark and gloomy, in a black with black windows kind of Range Rover feel, but the food is far from gloomy. The decoration is also dark but described as “The Most Outstanding Environment, FX International Interior Design Award”.

Fresh, vibrant, imaginative Cantonese. Not cheap, but there’s a Michelin Star for this location and it shows. Dress code tip – no hats to be worn in the restaurant please.

Restaurant Hakkasan. It’s worth watching the videos for a few minutes before clicking onward into the site – you get the picture of how dark it is!

We’ve also been to the Mayfair one – also very good. Similarly black and just round the corner from the Bentley dealers, Jack Barclay, so you can get your black Bentley to match.

Speaking of dark places, we’ve yet to explore “Dans le Noir“, a dining experience where you eat in the dark. The menus are graded “White, Blue, Red and Green”, though if it’s pitch dark we’re not sure how you tell? Anyway, one for the [long] list perhaps – reports needed.

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We said it was dark inside…

The Dim Sum

The Dim Sum

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