The Handbook decided to make a change from its usual Sunday lunch haunts to try something a little bit different and headed over to Hanway Place for Dim Sum Sundays at Hakkasan. Having joined up with Champagne house Perrier Jouёt, Hakkasan are offering guests six courses of dim sum and puddings alongside half a bottle of Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé.
Hakkasan may be Michelin-starred and it may be all dark ornate wood, neon-lit bars and the bathrooms may be a complete mystery (‘is that a wall or is it a door?’), but pretentious it is not. The emphasis is on long, lazy Sunday afternoon lunches; relaxed, informal and yet still with an air of decadence and frivolity.
We arrived early afternoon, walking from the bright daylight down into the low light of the restaurant and straight to the bar for cocktails, naturally. Go for the Matcha vera, a light, refreshing gin-based cocktail with aloe vera, jasmine, green tea and lime, sweet but still with enough of a kick to remind you that it is alcoholic.
Two cocktails down, we were shown through to our table, which was secluded enough so that we didn’t feel like we were playing sardines with the other diners, but open enough so that we could we observe the fellow customers and who can resist people watching?
The six-course meal is made up of salads to share, fried, baked, steamed and grilled dumplings, main courses to share and then a selection of puddings. Highlights for us included the crispy duck salad: a mound of duck, pine nuts, shallots and pomelo, and the pork and prawn shumai dumpling, which was delicious. The fried golden lobster roll was also another winner for us which we followed with the salt and pepper squid which we could have eaten twice over – at least.
Despite its fine dining approach the dim sum is a good size – small enough so that you don’t feel uncomfortably full, but big enough to stop you feeling too much of the Champagne, although it was a Sunday afternoon and so as a treat day anything goes.
For pudding we chose the lemon pot – a medley of lemon curd, meringue and lemon cream and the macaroons. After five courses we say the lemon pot is one to share rather than tackle alone; the three macaroons, however, make a sweet end to finish on. They just needed to have more of a crisp shell as they were rather soft.
The waiters were friendly and attentive, although they did proceed to cut up the duck salad for us at the table, which we felt was a little too much: the salad being served cut up would have suited us.
Having arrived in the daylight we left in the darkness, it seemed as if Hakkasan’s relaxed approach to Sundays had worn off on us. We looked at our watches and realised we had spent the best part of three and half hours there- well with food that good it would be rude not to.