Thomas Skovesende / Time Out
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Sep 24 2013
More than a decade after it started wowing London’s big spenders with its classy Cantonese cooking, this Michelin-starred trendsetter remains a benchmark against which all high-end Chinese restaurants should be judged.
The basement’s stylish interior (all dark wood lattice screens and moody lighting) still attracts the kind of beautiful people who might suppress their appetites – though there was little evidence of restraint on our midweek night visit. Plate after plate landed on tables around us, including signature dishes such as silver cod roasted in champagne, and jasmine tea-smoked organic pork ribs.
We started with the dim sum platter, a basket of superbly crafted dumplings. The pastry was perfect in give and texture, just elastic enough to encase generous bites of flavour-packed meat and seafood. Sweet and sour Duke of Berkshire pork with pomegranate was equally good, the melting tenderness of top-quality meat turning the clichéd staple into a luxury – Chinese takeaways should weep with shame. Drinks run from cocktails via high-priced wines to specialist teas.
The original Hakkasan that spawned a global empire (including a newer branch in Mayfair) retains all its appeal: cool enough to be seen in, yet authentic enough to dash pretension.
Hakkasan 8 Hanway Place
- Venue phone:
020 7927 7000
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Bar Open noon-12.30am Mon-Wed; noon-1.30am Thur-Sat; noon-midnight Sun. Restaurant Lunch/dim sum served noon-3.15pm Mon-Fri; noon-4.15pm Sat; noon-4.45pm Sun. Dinner served 5.30-11.15pm Mon-Wed, Sun; 5.30pm-12.15am Thur-Sat.
Tube: Tottenham Court Road tube
Main courses £17-£61. Dim sum £3-£20. Set lunch £28 2 courses Dim sum set lunch (Sundays only) £48/58
- 8 Hanway Place
- 020 7927 7000
- 8 Hanway Place
Average User Rating
3.6 / 5
- 5 star:1
- 4 star:3
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
Wow, I was unimpressed, the prices were so expensive! What you're paying for is the pretence of exclusivity - the food is reasonably tasty but I'd really rather go somewhere less fancy and pay significantly less. There wasn't anything on the menu that you couldn't get elsewhere, although it kind of highlights that the menu is quite authentic and hasn't been significantly altered.
The problem for me was that we were really crammed in next to the other tables and the restaurant was too dark for my liking. When you're looking for a really special evening out and you're paying over £50 for some dishes, I want to be able to see what I'm eating and I don't want to be sitting so close to the next table that I could eat off their table without stretching.
I took my boyfriend here for his birthday and we loved it. Our waiter was lovely and when he overheard it was my boyfrend's birthday he came over with a cake but asked us if it was ok to light the candle and sing as he didn't want to embarrass us which I thought was a lovely little touch. He also gave him another limoncello for free when he drunkenly knocked his half empty one on the floor! I was expecting it to be really expensive as we didn't hold back and 2 more dishes than recommended but I was pleasantly surprised with a bill of £130! The place is decorated really well too. Would definitely go back.
I recently ate at Hakkasan for the first time in about 3 years and I can't help but feel that the standard has either slipped or the London restaurant scene has simply overtaken what was once a standout. I was there with my boyfriend, celebrating a special occasion so we went for the Signature Menu. The value (£130 pp) would have been good enough for generous portions of wagyu, caviar and lobster but the food was mediocre. I can't remember any of the dishes being a standout and 2 of them (the cod in some sort of orangey glaze and one of the deserts) remained virtually untouched as they were frankly not very good. The atmosphere however is still great, cocktails are delicious and Hakkasan's popularity clearly hasn't waned as the restaurant was packed. Service was friendly, but a bit clumsy. They forgot our drink order and then brought us the wrong cocktail. I'll probably wind up visiting Hakkasan again as I feel nostalgic for what was once my favourite restaurant in London. But at over £300 for dinner with cocktails, I feel like I could have spent my money somewhere with better food and service.