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Hakkasan Dubai – Does it Match the London Experience?

Unless you recognise the discreet Hakkasan logo, you’d be hard pushed to find the entrance to the upmarket Cantonese restaurant chain’s first outpost in Dubai in the shadow of Emirates Towers Boulevard. A Hakkasan strategy perhaps given the original London restaurant sits on Hanway Place, a dodgy alley off Oxford Street…I guess helps create an element of anticipation.

Best part is you need not enter the hotel or office/ shopping tower – simply rock up in your car (just past the ballroom entrance) and get it valeted, provided you are not boozing it up of course. Diminutive hostesses in slinky lilac outfits – Hussein Chalayan I believe? – beckon us through a long slate stone corridor referred to as the catwalk leading to a stunning terrace with cascading wooden pavilions and surrounded by walls of vegetation and water features. A very luscious, Japanese-styled garden I feel. It’s simply so calming, you can tell it’s been Feng Shuied. Love, love, love the ambiance.

With only a scattering of tables occupied for a Tuesday lunch, we were able to pick a corner banquette for our trio. FooDiva review aside, the reason we had the luxury of a mid-week lunch was to avail of the ‘Taste of Hakkasan’ business lunch menu (below); select three courses for AED 120.

Dim sum starter:
Steamed seafood dim sum selection; scallop shumai, shrimp har gau, prawn and Chinese chive dumpling
Fried dim sum selection; radish puff, baked venison puff
Vegetarian steamed dim sum selection; morel crystal dumpling, chive flower dumpling, bamboo dumpling

Main course:
Spicy prawn with lily bulbs and almonds
Chiu chow style duck
Steamed red snapper with Assam sauce
Stir-fry rib eye beef with black pepper sauce
Four style vegetable stir-fry in Szechuan sauce
All mains served with pak choy and steamed rice

Dessert:
Pavlova with spiced plums and brandy ice cream
Selection of home made sorbet – raspberry, passion fruit and rose

Being three, we were pretty much able, bar a couple, to order all dishes to share – I’ve highlighted our selection. Food presentation is an art, and something Hakkasan has perfected with every single dish; even if you weren’t reviewing you’d be tempted to photograph. Just to illustrate, the radish puff dim sum comprises layers of paper thin puff pastry moulded to resemble a carrot and filled with shreds of radish; one bite and it melts in your mouth.

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