Celebrating Chinese New Year with Hakkasan Mayfair: Review
February 1st is the Year of the Tiger and Hakkasan have delivered a tantalising menu to celebrate Chinese New Year in style.
The Lunar New Year of the Tiger represents the characteristics of strength, passion, and fiery ambition. Tigers were born in 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 and 2010. Some famous Tigers include musician Lady Gaga, Queen Elizabeth II, Tom Cruise and Kit Harrington.
Although the Tiger is sometimes depicted as one of the least lucky signs in Chinese astrology, it encourages those born under the sign to fiercely pursue their dreams and ambitions and rely on inner intuition to strive and achieve in 2022.
With that being said, Hakkasan is once again celebrating the occasion with an eclectic menu from now until the 15th February; for those lucky enough to dine on the 1st February there will be a traditional dragon dance for guests to enjoy.
Last year, the restaurant turned 20 years old. Today Hakkasan Mayfair still encompasses the same allure and grandeur it has always had when first opening its doors in London, effortlessly combining intimacy and elegant Chinese design elements at the heart of the building. Carefully integrating both introspective and reflective elements gastronomes instantly feel inner peace in the space. Ambient lighting provides a level of harmony, whilst the dawning cobalt bar ignites a little passion to the establishment.
On arrival expect to see a modern interpretation of the customary wishing tree, where guests are encouraged (after dining) to write down their New Year's desires on ribbons. Instead of these hanging on traditional hong bao trees, they are adorned on the labyrinth-style mahogany thatch installations that surround the dining area.
Expect to find a mixture of chic urbanites and high-flyers at the Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant, a popular choice for supermodel Naomi Campbell, Rihanna and Kanye West when in town.
The dining experience begins with the Chinese New Year King of Fujian cocktail, a refreshing blend of Belvedere vodka, sweet aromatic lychee, passionfruit, and basil that is balanced perfectly with the sour and tangy kumquat.
For those looking for alternative options, the signature Hakka is a modern take on the traditional piña colada. Replacing pineapple with infused lychee, coconut, and passionfruit, it hits every note and is steadied by the smooth floral aroma of Akashi–Tai sake.
There are five hearty dishes on the set menu (perfect for two) for a veritable voyage into Chinese New Year. Ancient gastronomic discovery lies at the heart and soul of the restaurant led by a team of award-winning chefs.
The journey starts with small eats that include the delightful Salmon Crudo and vibrant Xingfu dim sum trio. The sweet Crudo cone (a gift from Executive Chef Andrew Yeo) is sheathed in pickled mustard and sesame seeds with rich smoked and fresh salmon, whilst the dim sum offers rich flavours of the east. Our favourites were the nutty and earthy baked Truffle Duck Puff and the delicate and succulent Tiger Prawn Dumpling with ornate inking on the moist outer sleeve.
Moving on, the mains are both hearty and iconic in design. Starting with the rich Stir Fry Wagyu Beef, the tender cuts of fillet are accompanied with rich buttery bone marrow and chaperoned by an array of root vegetables and pervasive green pepper.
Next is the striking Wok-fry Wild Sea Bass, an artisanal presentation of the Serranidae family where the fluffed crisped skin is both striking and adds texture to the otherwise juicy dish. It is effortlessly paired with mild yet slightly fruity enoki mushroom and spicy sesame soy reduction delivering a perfect balance of intense flavours.
The Salt Crusted Fortune Baked Chicken arrives in an arresting presentation, where the outer casing (gracefully imprinted with the logogram for the Year of the Tiger) allows further engagement in the festivities. The chicken is both succulent and flavoursome and is accompanied by chestnut, shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoot.
An array of sides complements each ancient-inspired dish. The Buddha's Delight is an eastern infusion of traditional vegetables that include sweet bamboo shoots, vibrant black fungus and bitter gai lan (Chinese broccoli) that is balanced by the fragrant sauce.
The Sweet One
Dessert is a wild affair with an annular presentation of a fondant layered with orange and smooth chocolate mousse. It arrives with a beautiful firecracker to further toast the celebrations and a smooth and creamy sorbet to add a little vigour to the palate.
The Year of the Tiger Menu is available at Hakkasan until 15th February and costs £118 per person excluding cocktail
17 Bruton St, London W1J 6AE
Phone: 020 7907 1888
For further information & reservations visit Hakkasan
Words by Jheanelle Feanny