For a majority of Londoners, there are only a handful of true must-visit destinations where food and drink is concerned; usually a celebrity chef is attached to it, or it has been heavily featured on television or in the gossip pages. Hakkasan, remarkably, has none of those going for it, yet remains an intense draw for most Londoners. Much has been written about it before: founded by the restaurateur Alan Yau (of Yauatcha and Cha Cha Moon), it thrust Cantonese food as fine dining firmly back in the spotlight when it opened in 2001, and is variously known for its high-end aesthetic, the Michelin star its kitchen acquired in 2003, it's gorgeously seductive bar and incredible cocktails.
The restaurant's location on an alley off Tottenham Court Road and down a flight of stairs intrigues, and the payoff comes in the form of a drippingly gorgeous restaurant and bar, stunningly designed, sleek and seductively beautiful. It is unquestionably one of the most glamorous bars and dining rooms in London.
But first, a drink at the bar. Cocktails are expertly made and delicious - with a mixture of premium vodka, sake and evocative ingredients like lime, lychee, coconut and passion fruit, the bar's signature Hakka cocktail is the most gorgeous of a fine selection.
The Chang Fen with beef flank will make you forget you're in a Michelin-starred restaurant - people have fought over this stuff, it's perfect texture and savoury flavour the hallmarks of a kitchen in possession of impeccable technique and palate. Chili-marinated prawns are accompanied by delicate lily bulbs and almonds, and Chilean seabass comes with a deliciously sweet-salty Chinese honey.
lunch: Monday - Friday: 12:00 - 15:15, weekends: 12:00 - 16:15, dinner:
Sunday - Wednesday: 18:00 - 23:15, Thursday - Saturday: 18:00 - 24:15.
8 Hanway Place, Charing-Cross, W1T 1HDView Larger Map