Gung fa hait choy! (Happy New Year). It is year of the rooster to be exact. One of the 12 signs that arrives in an annual rotation.
Year of the Rooster eh? What does that mean? I am glad you asked… Those born on year of the Rooster are said to be “trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work”…. Luckily for me, you don’t have to be born on year of the Rooster (or remotely good with timekeeping) to enjoy the perks of the unbelievable menu at Hakkasans around the world and indeed at Hakkasan Mayfair.
Keeping with their ever cool, ever chic decor, this time of year it is heavily sprinkled with red & gold ribbons (by London illustrator Kam Tang) containing peoples written wishes. If you want to be whimsical about it, you’d say that you get to sit immersed in peoples dreams… If you are a little more on the ice side, you’d say…. “That looks pretty stylish”.
I’m going to level with you here, I always say that I like cocktails more than I actually do… An example of “great, in theory” and I usually won’t make it through one before ordering a Hendricks instead.
However, we ordered the Green Destiny… Sound organic and healthy? I mean, its not. This is no sprulina pond juice my friends. It is Zubrowka vodka, cucumber, kiwi & apple. Also, my guest had The Chinese Mule (Belvedere vodka, Akashi-tai sake, coriander, ginger, lime and ginger beer). Hers was the winner.
I have never had a less than fabulous meal in Hakkasan. Fact. Be it Golden week, Chinese New Year, or a Tuesday in August, the food is consistently very good and the service is impeccable, especially under the guidance of their charming GM.
The Chinese New Year menu was no different and we started with the traditional Prosperity salad. I have had this a few times and love these ingredients (in this case roasted chicken, jelly fish and mooli). If you are afraid of eating jellyfish, you need to stop being weird and just try it. I also love the idea behind it…
To serve it, diners at the table stand up and toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying their wishes. In theory, the height of the toss reflects the height of the diners’ growth in fortunes (I mean… don’t tell people this and expect not to be covered in noodles and jellyfish)
Now two words…. Lob. Ster. Ok it’s one word but definitely deserving of the verbal emphasis. Presented in the shell, this Lobster in white pepper sauce was so soft, decadent and delicious with water chestnuts sporadically throughout.
I need to add at this point that while there are almost no foods that I really dislike….If you put fennel (just why?!?) or water chestnuts anywhere near me, expect me to throw the plate. So it is really testament to this dish that I enjoyed it so much.
Sometimes Chinese dishes can be a little heavy with the spices and sweet additions and so I always welcome the sight of at least one green item on my plate and all the more so when it is their Mushroom broccoli (which I could basically eat on its own).
The Sauteed duck breast in spicy bean sauce with pickled lotus root. Now, my guest does not like duck… Not because she is anti meat (I would struggle with that), but she cannot get onboard with the texture of a fattier bird like duck. I do like duck but I agree that when the skin and fat is cooked to a crisp, it is definitely more popular with the masses. That said, both of us enjoyed this dish with the spicy bean sauce, albeit me significantly more.
This was served along side the delicious Steamed turbot in supreme stock with cloud ear and saffron… “Oh my god I don’t know what a cloud ear is… how awkward?!”. Fear not, I’ve got you… It is an edible jelly fungus/mushroom that grows on mountainous trees…. So show off….You’re welcome.
First comes the delicious Deep fried sesame ball with a super sweet custard like almost rice pudding flavoured filling atop Mango sauce.
Now… Few things have quite the wow factor that this Golden feather dessert does. As is more than well documented, I love an egg. It is less well known that I also love a panacotta… So, imagine what would happen if a Ginger panacotta was formed into a “crackable” egg with caramelised white chocolate?
No, don’t imagine… just look…
The point is Hakkasan is cool. Its chic. It is a celebration night out on any given day of the week, so when it is Chinese New Year, it is all the above to 1000%.
So, all you need to do is decide what to wish for…. I’m no expert, but I don’t think there is ‘technically’ a rule on how many wishes you can make…?