Since its opening just over two years ago, Dubai’s Cantonese fine-dining restaurant Hakkasan has become one of the best spots in town for decadent Chinese. The 152-cover restaurant features an outside terrace of wood pavilions – an addition which only pertains to the chain’s Dubai and Abu Dhabi venues. Inside are two-private dining rooms, the Lin Lin Lounge embellished in Chinese-style black, gold and white decor for a relaxed and sophisticated setting as well an extensive bar lit up in fluorescent blue.
Designed by Gilles and Boissier, the restaurant is the second in the UAE, the first of which is located in Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace. My guest and I entered the stunning structure of Hakkasan and were immediately guided through a series of intimate indoor and outdoor pavilions each encompassing dim lighting and decorated with modern Chinese style influences. At the bar we sampled The Hakka cocktail, a smooth sweet and fruity drink made of Belvedere vodka, sake, lychee juice, lime, coconut and passion fruit, and the Chinese Mule incorporating coriander, ginger, lime, sake, Belvedere vodka and ginger beer into a fresh and tangy taste.
Seated outside in the intimate ambiance of a wooden pavilion and joined by only two other tables of diners, we proceeded onto a selection of starters coupled with a 2010 Riesling “Sauvage” wine by Georg Breuer from Rheingau, Germany. A colorful Hakka steamed dim sum platter was brought to the table featuring scallop shumai, har gau, prawn and Chinese chive dumpling and black pepper dumpling – warm and comforting as well as a bit chewy, these dumplings were almost equivalent in taste and texture to ones made fresh in Hong Kong. A Crispy Duck Salad made with pine nut, pomelo and shallot offered a fresh creation to the often rich and solitary crispy duck wraps one is accustomed to while a stir-fry vegetable and pine nut lettuce wrap allowed us to use our hands serving small amounts of the mixture into lettece leaves leaving a rich peanut and creamy aftertaste.
For the mains, the Charcoal grilled Chilean sea bass with Chinese honey was an immediate favorite perfectly coupling a sweet and smooth taste with the fresh and salty flavor of fresh sea bass. The Spicy Prawn made with lily bulb and almond offered a more hearty and pungent aroma to the prawns. For meat, a stir-fry rib eye beef with black pepper sauce was well-done and satisfying and worked nicely with the stir-fry lotus root, asparagus in black pepper – both leaving the sharp remnants of the black pepper taste. Rice servings included a warm and delicate edamame egg fried rice. To round off the meal – a decadent chocolate pave with caramelized banana, white chocolate and passion fruit sorbet and a delicious coconut crème brûlée with roasted pineapple left us feeling pleasantly satisfied.
Stunning design and innovative Cantonese cuisine, Hakkasan is the spot for all occasions from a romantic dinner to a professional business lunch. It hits the spot.
Hakkasan, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, +971 43848484. www.hakkasan.com