- Restaurant: Hakkasan, Hanway Place, London
- Zagat Food Score: 26
- Site: http://www.hakkasan.com/hanway-place/
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Bill: £80+ per person
- Hakkasan has been in the worlds top 50 restaurants for a couple of years now.
I’ve eaten at a good number of Michelin Star restarants, on a good number of continents. I’d like to think that I have a general understanding of what I should expect from a place listed in the guide. In my opinion, Hakkasan was enormously over priced with poor service and cooking that relied on super high quality ingredients to impress.
The decoration of Hakkasan is very impressive, but with bouncers on the door, it opens to a very strange feel to begin with. The lights are VERY low for a restaurant. From the minute I walked in, I had a feeling that this was going to be a very expensive meal. There was 8 of us visiting, and I was looking forward to seeing how a restaurant like this could handle a large table.
To begin with, some drinks are the impressively stocked bar. The bar wasn’t busy but service was slow and abrupt. After waiting a while for the barmen to stop talking, I eventually got a drinks menu from them. He wasn’t helpful with a suggestion of a drink that I asked for and insisted on taking an extra card to start a tab, in addition to the one which they insisted was taken for the table. The only drink I had from the bar was beer, so no comments on the quality of the cocktails or anything else there.
The tables are nicely laid, very minimalistic. Again, the restaurant is extremely dark, and I’ve lightened these photos significantly just so that you can get a look at the place. The tables are quite close together though, don’t expect a huge amount of space between each of them. The restaurant as a whole is very big though.
My main meal was one of the most expensive ‘normal’ main dishes on the menu. Hakkasan Wagyu Beef at £65 for the meat. Sides are extra. The quality of the beef was astonishing, probably the softest beef I’ve ever had – but at this price I would expect nothing less. Its listerally marinated & cooked. In my opinion, this is not Michelin Star cooking – its just cooking with extremely high quality ingredients. I asked for my beef to be rare, and as you can see from the picture, there are parts of the beef which are lovely and rare, with others decidedly on the medium side.
Our food did not come up at the same time, not even close. My beef was first, and I waited for everyones else food to be brought up, one dish at a time. Soon after, the side dishes were brought up. Getting extra drinks was an effort, having to flag down the waiter, followed by more waiting.
However, don’t think that £65 is a lot of money to spend on a single dish in this place… They have dishes which cost over £400. I’m not adverse to spending lots of money on food – I have a table at Noma next week – the worlds number one restaurant, and will be dropping over £200 per person on that meal. However, the amount of effort that Rene and his team put into each and every meal warrants that kind of price.
One of the things which I really didn’t like about Hakkasan was the service and the staff. If a restaurant is selling a dish for £400+ I would expect the staff to dress is something more than just cheap black t-shirts. You can also see in the kitchen, that considering the restaurant was full at this time, its doesn’t exactly appear under pressure to get the meals out.
Overall, I was really disappointed with Hakkasan. Yes the quality of the ingredients used is some of the best in the world, but the price issues, the staff and the service let the experience down. I do not expect to be going back any time soon, or recommending anyone else goes there. For a lot less money you can have a meal which is significantly more enjoyable.