Hakkasan (bar)

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Fitzrovia
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Hakkasan (bar)

The newer, Mayfair branch of this seriously smart Fitzrovia Chinese restaurant and bar has stolen some of the limelight from its older sibling, which is now more than a decade old. But we still prefer this original outpost of what has now become an international chain. The long, thin strip of a bar behind the Chinese screens continues to look glamorous, and the cocktails are still superb. Premium spirits are used, the bar staff are well trained, and there is a definite homage to the East with drinks such as the Hakka (which contains regular saké) or the plum sour (with plum saké).

Don’t be put off by the frosty door staff, the dark descent to the basement or the bevy of hostesses asking about your booking (not actually required for the bar): it’s worth the perseverance, and has less of a press of people than many newer bars operating at this level.


Venue name: Hakkasan (bar)
Address: 8 Hanway Place
Opening hours: Open noon-12.30am Mon-Wed; noon-1.30am Thur-Sat; noon-midnight Sun. Food served noon-3pm, 6-11.30pm Mon-Wed; noon-3pm, 6-12.30am Thur-Sat; noon-4pm, 6-11.30pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Tottenham Court Road tube
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Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
3 people listening

So I entered here with some caution about the over-hyping and effusive comments I had read and heard. My Chinese friends all say it’s not a proper Chinese restaurant to the extent I sense it’s almost become now not cool to say you eat there. My co-eater once more was the ‘mandarin-fluent’ Miss C who, for background, breezed in 33 minutes late with no more than a vague hint of an insincere apology….but was reluctantly forgiven d... due to looking absolutely divine. A couple of cocktails at the bar to start with served by friendly bar staff. A good cocktail range all priced around the average you would expect so no unpleasant surprises there. And so to the restaurant area, and first reaction was the maximum use made of space for tables. Very limited room for waiters to manoeuvre and at times it almost felt like we were in a wagamama bench format. A seemingly minor point but table size was also quite small and given the format of Chinese eating tends to bring more dishes than usual everything felt just a bit too crammed in. So far, I’m at 5 out of 10. The food, we ordered Shanghai dumplings and soft shell crab as starters. The dumplings were just unbelievable, the best I have ever had and the soft shell crab was full of fresh flavour and perfectly spiced. Neither of us could fault…and that was despite the often captious Miss C having spent some time in Shanghai. Now we’re at 10 out of 10. Main course was led by Angus rib-eye, scallops and prawn cake and black truffle roast duck. Everything just oozed flavour – for long moments there was no conversation needed. As much as we tried to find fault it really was everything we had hoped and more. Now at 11 out of 10. We managed a couple of desserts to share which were acceptable but I guess is not the main reason you’d be coming here. To remind us how limited the table space was Miss C then decided to flamboyantly spill a rather viscid dessert wine over my sleeve….nice. Cue insincere apology….again instantly forgiven. An amazing meal, fantastic venue, if a little too focussed on maximising prime London floor space. And the bill…don’t ask, and don’t think about it, and you will not regret it.   


My oldest friend brought me here on a Friday afternoon while I was in London for work. She made a point for us to get there on the early side, and we just barely beat the crowd and managed to get a comfortable seat at the bar. The drinks were fantastic -- I am now a Plum Sour addict -- and the salted pepper squid was out of this world. I would KILL for another plate of that right now! Definitely gets busy later on in the evening, a little noisy as well due to the DJ, and is on the pricey side -- for two drinks and an appetizer, I spent about 30 pounds. Well worth it however.

A really disappointing experience. I looked up the menu before going and was excited about the range of dishes on offer. However, after reading other reviews, my excitement started to wane and once I was there, my much lowered expectations were not even met. The service was faultless (apart from when they made you leave exactly two hours after you set foot in the place) and great cocktails but the food was terribly bland and boring (just putting more ginger in a dish doesn't make it better!?), and the seafood very chewy and tasteless. I've paid much less for much better food in Soho (dare I even say McDonalds?? There is certainly more flavour to be had there, regardless of what that flavour is made up of)! The desserts weren't even that enjoyable either - the apple tart was not sweet and the pastry had a stale consistency to it, and the chocolate 'three ways' dish barely tasted of chocolate at all - again very bland flavourings. And I'm not a big person at all but the portions were minute. Don't expect to go here for a satisfying meal - we had to leave and have a second dinner elsewhere later on! (Possibly McDonalds.) Would not recommend this place to anyone - it is 100% purely about the looks only - the venue and plates ooze elegance but behind the smoke and mirrors, there is no substance at all.