Thought festival season was over? You thought wrong, and so did I! The London Restaurant Festival runs the entire month of October and participating restaurants offer great deals that will save you a lot of money! I have been wanting to add another fancy dining experience to my list, so my restaurant of choice was Hakkasan Mayfair.
After a lovely day out at the museums, my friend and I headed to Hakkasan for our late lunch reservation. The special three-course menu including cocktail was just enough to choose from. I hate when there are too many delicious things on the menu because it makes it so hard to settle for just one dish! The selection included meat, fish and veggie options with many allergy alterations available. Don’t miss out on this month for foodies and book your table today at bookatable.co.uk.
Located in the popular and luxurious Mayfair, this Hakkasan branch is as fancy as ever. From the outside it is a mysterious black door with just the restaurant initials above the doors, making it quite hard to spot the place. As soon as you enter the restaurant it is an entire world to discover! You are lead through a long corridor with doors at the end, after which the receptionist will greet you and you will be taken to your table either upstairs or in the dining area downstairs.
The staircase is definitely something else, with galaxy lights shining on them lighting up the dark interior of the restaurant. I didn’t get a glimpse of the upstairs seating area, but downstairs feels like you have been transported to China because of the traditional decoration. The interior is truly beautiful!
The photo opportunities
Some restaurants make a big deal of their entrances, so they usually are a good first spot to start the photo shoot. Hakkasan is different. You can definitely take a photo outside, but hardly anyone will know what you are taking a picture with. The entrance corridor isn’t exactly a photo studio either, as the place is dimly lit with hardly any decoration for backdrops. Naturally, the ladies’ room is also a beautiful opportunity to get that Insta-worthy photo opportunity.
The seating area, however, seems to be quite the photo op as most of the backdrops will be impressive wine collections. The interior decoration will also be an interesting addition to any food-on-the-table-drink-in-hand picture, if you know what I mean! Sadly, the gorgeous staircase failed on my three attempts to get a good picture of myself on them. Simply because, the place is quite busy on a Saturday afternoon so people kept photo bombing me, and it’s just too dark to get the lightning right. I did manage to capture the impressive light effect on the staircase though!
The food and drinks
Hakkasan’s menu is quite extensive, with many set menu options and an a-la-carte selection to choose from depending on your budget and cravings that day. The prices can really vary from outrageously treating yourself, to a decently priced special Saturday night meal with no special occasion necessary to justify the spend.
We went for the Taste of Hakkasan set menu, which is available for ‘lunch’ for £38 per person. I say lunch because the menu is available daily from 12pm until 6.30pm. This includes three courses and a cocktail, which I think is really decent considering a cocktail alone would cost you about half that price. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the Taste of Hakkasan menu has plenty of mains to choose from, vegetarian, fish and meat and they all come with a side of Jasmine rice and vegetables. The starters are dim sum (veggie or non-veggie) and there are three choices of dessert (I think these vary on the day).
We went for the Stir-fry Chilean sea bass, which is really delicious and great value for money as we got plenty of fish. Sometimes when you order fish with set menus restaurants tend to serve you about two bites of fish, which can be quite disappointing! We also tried the Stir-fry black pepper rib-eye beef with merlot and OMG was this delicious!! I could’ve had about five plates of that! Coming from me, a very moderate carnivore, that says a lot! The beef was so juicy, smoky and just so well-flavoured that I just couldn’t get enough of it.
Our desserts were equally delicious. I opted for a Jivara bomb, which is hands down the BEST dessert I have had in my entire 22 years of existence. I’m not even joking. It was a delicious rice-crispy ball covered in rich chocolate sauce filled with light praline ice-cream. After a few bites the crispies started to crackle in mouth and it was just sensational. I would go back just for this dessert.
Hakkasan also offers a vast selection of drinks, from cocktails, bubbles and wines. I had a lychee martini that came with a rose petal in it to make it look so much more sophisticated. The balance of bitters, sweets and alcohol was just right. We also treated ourselves to a delicious bottle of red wine from Italy. Beware, however, as they prices on the menu are by glass and… carafe instead of bottle. So by the time the bill came, I was surprised to see that the bottle was more expensive than I initially thought.
This particular London restaurant feels very mysterious and exclusive. Not only because it is hard to find, but also because of the dimly lit interior. It is a place that is exclusive without feeling pretentious, unlike other restaurants I have reviewed in the past that seemed to just be an Instagram hype. The real hype in this place is definitely the culinary experience.
One small point of improvement would be the service. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but there are points of improvement. You reserve a table for a two-hour slot, they don’t kick you out after the time’s up but the staff do everything they can to speed up your stay. To give you an example, I went to the ladies’ after we placed our order and by the time I came back our starters were already on the table. Normally, they would hold the food back in the kitchen until the entire party is seated. About two seconds after we finished our starters, our table was cleared and the mains were served giving us no time to digest or enjoy our drinks for a minute.
The final verdict
*This post was written in collaboration with Bookatable however all opinions are my own.
Look, I will take quick service over slow service any day. So despite the little points of improvement to perhaps slow down just a few minutes, it was a great dining experience that I am likely to treat myself to again soon. The photo ops aren’t the best, but let’s not forget that a restaurant is about food not photos. If you want to treat yourself to a delicious meal, this is the place to go.
Which restaurants would you like to try during London Restaurant Festival?
Lots of love,