Hakkasan | hakkasan.com | Dianping
Address: 中山东一路18号外滩18号5层(近南京东路) Level 5, Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu near Nanjing Dong Lu (黄浦区 Huangpu District)
Date visited: 2014.07 for dinner
Price: RMB¥800+ per person (please note: 10% service charge)
Will return: Definitely
What to get:
– Dim sum platter
– Crispy duck with caviar
– Stir-fry black pepper Angus striploin
– Chocolate sphere
– Lemon pot
Please note this was an invited tasting
Posh is the word for Hakkasan. I think that sums it up. It’s not a secret that I like fancy. I really like fancy when it is done right and Hakkasan, offering haute Cantonese cuisine on the bund, is exactly that. Hakkasan is located in the same building as Mr and Mrs Bund, Bar Rouge, and M18 so you can eat, party, and eat again all in one building. This is not a coincidence.
The service, as expected, is exceedingly good here. There is by-the-book good service and there is Hakkasan good service. What accounts for the difference? Because the staff here is in the company of Diane von Furstenberg. A friend who previously dined here liked the servers’ dresses so he asked and was told they were wearing DVF that night. I had to confirm during my visit and I came and I saw: female staff members are outfitted in the likes of DVF, Alexander Wang, and Victoria Beckham. The most beautiful dress I laid eyes on that night was a deep blue DVF silk-chiffon gown worn by the head maitre’d. The only detail you are going to have to worry about is showing up in the same dress as one of the staff, which apparently did happen one time. True story.
Hakkasan has a few sections for different purposes and times of the night. The music gets hipper and louder into the night so we all know where this is headed. There are two bars for pre or post-dinner drinks. Two main dining sections, one of which hosts late night dim sum (11am-2pm). And of course, what is a Shanghai restaurant without a few private rooms.
One of the roundtable private rooms looking out at the bund:
One of the long-table private rooms, which there are three of next to each other, whose dividers can be removed to form a giant rectangular private section.
A section of the main dining area with décor consistent with Hakkasans around the world:
We started the night with drinks at one of the two bars in the restaurant. If you want a show, order the Smokey Negroni (RMB¥80) with Tanqueray gin, sweet vermouth, Campari, served with hickory wood and Grand Marnier smoke.
This is like chemistry class except I get to drink.
Strong and flavorful at the same time, which is a rare combination as I usually find strong Negronis nasty and tasty Negronis weak.
We popped by the kitchen before settling down at our table. Hello, chefs.
Regardless of all the above (which I certainly like and is very much part of the Hakkasan experience), now is the ultimate test of food. Spoiler: it keeps going uphill from here.
Not that this applies to me as a carnivore but there are plenty of vegetarian dishes on the menu. This is a place where you can order vegetarian options without needing to ask for modifications like, “Can I have steak and fries, but just the fries, please? And actually, instead of fries, can you substitute it with carrots?” No. You can have vegetarian dim sum and dishes in peace.
Here is one. We began with the vegetarian dim sum platter (RMB¥108) with morel crystal dumpling, steamed dumpling with autumn truffle, truffle pumpkin puff and cheese croquette. The steamed dumpling, full of truffle aroma, is my favorite.
Dim sum with champagne. Obviously. NV Louis Roederer Brut Premier 12% Champagne, France (RMB¥185 per glass).
And another vegetarian option: fresh and crisp green salad with asparagus (RMB¥98) with dried cherry tomatoes and lemongrass vinaigrette.
Next, the Jasmine San (RMB¥80) with Ketel One vodka, Jasmine, lychee juice, lime and grapefruit bitters descended upon our table with the finishing touch of Jasmine essence vapor presented tableside.
That vapor action does not get old for me. Even better if they let me try next time.
Refreshing with the sweet touch of Jasmine. I think the ladies will like this drink.
My most favorite dish of the night came in the form of crispy duck with superior caviar (RMB¥688 for half shown below; RMB¥1288 for whole) with pancakes and baby cucumber; second course with a choice of XO sauce, black bean sauce or ginger and spring onion. What was life before this?
I was so glad to be sharing this with only one other person.
I adore you.
For the record, I had Peking-style duck at a local Chinese restaurant the next day and it was so anticlimactic post-Hakkasan. Duck will never be the same again.
We continued with tender pieces of sautéed scallop in XO sauce (RMB¥198) with yam bean. Watch out for the large pieces of ginger they keep in the dish for flavoring.
Looks like regular Chinese stir-fried beef? No. These are the most delicious cubes of stir-fry black pepper Angus striploin (RMB¥258) with merlot, which it better be given the price. I don’t know what this beef looks like raw but I imagine it to be marbled because I can taste traces of fat in each bite. This with a bowl of steamed jasmine rice (RMB¥12) and I am good.
Of course, ladies have to have our dessert so we picked something lemony and something chocolaty.
The chocolate sphere (RMB¥88) comes with warm and luscious salted chocolate sauce, which the server pours into the plate tableside. I just started spooning the chocolate sauce by itself towards the end.
Of course, my newly acquired fondness for lemon curd since Coquille has been exploited everywhere lately. The lemon pot (RMB¥88) with lemon curd, lemon mousse, meringue is a heavenly mix of soft and crunchy textures. Amazing. I will be back for you, my sweet (and sour).