On a very special occasion (Co founder’s Birthday Eve dinner to be precise), we decided to take a mini road trip and head down south to the breathtaking Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
When it comes to fine dining and Chinese cuisine, you can’t really argue with the fact that Hakkasan boasts the top spot. Not only is Hakkasan rated a staggering 4.8 out of a possible 5 on Zomato, but it has also become one of the world’s most distinguished global restaurant brands creating an impressive epicurean experience.
When we entered Hakkasan, we were amazed by the vivacious, captivating and inviting atmosphere it has. The ambience had a modern chic vibe to it and this is constant at all branches of Hakkasan worldwide.
When we were seated, we knew that basic comfort Chinese food is definitely not something we’re going to be offered here and we were very excited about it. And after glancing through the entire menu, we were overwhelmed with choice! We immediately sought the help of our very friendly server who started listing out Hakkasan’s specialties and popular dishes.
Since the starters are considered as “small plates”, we decided to opt for three of them; two appetizers and one salad.
For our salad we opted for the Crispy Duck Salad with pomelo, pine nuts and shallots. When it comes to pomelo, we instantly get enthusiastic. We love the freshness, texture and flavor of the pomelo that is widely used in Asian salads and to be combined with crispy duck is definitely something that shouldn’t be missed. The portions of the duck were generous, the skin was crispy as promised with a delicious glaze and the duck was cooked to perfection. Generally, salads at a restaurant are something we least look forward to, however after tasting the Crispy Duck Salad the benchmark for the rest of the dishes was set really high.
Moving on to our Appetizers, our first was the delicious Golden Fried Soft Shell Crab with Red Chili and Curry Leaf. What stood out in this dish was the way the soft shell crab was cooked. What we love about soft shell crab is that you can eat the crab as a whole without the fuss of cleaning it. However, it needs to be cooked perfectly and delicately for one to enjoy it. We loved how the crab tasted crispy on the outside and tender soft on the inside. The sweet, tangy and spicy flavor of the sauce complemented the crab very well making us salivate by the end of it.
For our second appetizer we had the Crispy Wild Prawn with Foie Gras sauce. This dish was the most beautifully presented dish amongst the rest we’ve tried. We loved the texture of the prawn and the unique combination of flavors with the Foie Gras. Definitely a must try if you plan on visiting Hakkasan.
Having been blown away by our delicious starter course, we couldn’t wait to try out our mains! We knew it would be a very long time until our next trip to Hakkasan since we only fine dine on special occasions, and hence we thought of making the most of our dining experience. Yes, that means not leaving Hakkasan until we feel like we’re about to explode!
We opted for two mains, our first being the Stir Fry Rib Eye Beef with Black Pepper Sauce. Our server recommended this dish to us since it is one of the most commonly ordered dishes and after tasting the Rib Eye dish we could see why. Tender morsels of perfectly cooked Rib eye in a spicy and flavorful black pepper sauce that has the perfect balance of heat and spice is what you can expect when trying this dish.
We also opted for the Sanpei Chicken Clay pot with sweet basil, chili and spring onions. We loved the tangy flavor and the sweetness the gravy contained which was a play on the traditional sweet and spicy chicken you get at regular Chinese restaurants.
To accompany the Rib Eye and Chicken Mains we also ordered the Hakka Hand Pulled Noodles with Shimeji Mushrooms and Chinese Chive which complemented the main courses very well.
Finally, the best part of any meal – Dessert! With the selection being so tempting, we opted for two. Since one of us loves tart and the other loves chocolate flavors, we decided to opt for one of each. Our first dessert was a delicious signature of Hakkasan “Lemon Pot”. Served decadently in a wide glass container, the lemon pot contains Lemon curd, meringue, crumble and mascarpone ice cream. For those of you who like sour and tart desserts, this will probably be the best you’ll ever have (it was for us atleast). The meringue, crumble and mascarpone cut through the tartness of the lemon curd and added a brilliant texture to the dessert, making us lick the bowl clean!
Our final dessert was a simple yet faultless Chocolate Fondant with ice cream. The fondant was cooked just right with gooey center. The fondant is served with luscious Vanilla ice cream to lighten up the dessert and wrapping up our unforgettable meal perfectly.
Crispy Duck Salad – 155Dhs
Golden Fried Soft Shell Crab – 88Dhs
Crispy Wild Prawn with Foie Gras – 75Dhs
Stir Fry Rib Eye Beef – 145Dhs
Sanpei Chicken Claypot – 95Dhs
Hakka Hand Pulled Noodles – 65Dhs
Hakkasan “Lemon Pot” – 45Dhs
Chocolate Fondant – 50Dhs
Ambience – 4/5
Food – 5/5
Service – 4/5
Value – 4.5/5