When people ask me what my favourite restaurant in London is, it is hard for me to answer.  Each year I update a top ten restaurants in London list and it seems like the pointy end of the list is in a constant state of flux.  MTV boyfriend has no such problems.  His favourite restaurant for the last four years has been Hakkasan.  “The food is good and it has got atmosphere and really good cocktails,” he says.  While it may no longer be cutting edge, I have to admit on all those counts he is right.

Stir fry Peking duck

Despite the fit out being a few years old now Hakkasan still has the wow factor when you descend the stairs into the darkened room.  It looks like it could be some sort of high class opium den in the heart of Hong Kong.  Unlike the formal atmosphere of most Michelin star restaurants it is bustling and noisy and slightly chaotic.  There is a great bar area where you can kick your night off with a few cocktails.  On our most recent visit to celebrate our friends Charlotte and Sully’s engagement we loved the ginger cocktail while the Japanese breakfast cocktail which contained tomato juice and olives was not actually as weird as the ingredient mix sounded (it tasted a little like gazpacho).

Aubergine and tofu clay pot

Hakkasan is the sort of restaurant where prices range widely from reasonably priced and brilliant dishes such as the simple tofu, aubergine and mushroom claypot (£12.50) to exorbitant abalone concoctions.

Silver cod roasted in champagne

From the tipping the bill end of the scale, Hakkasan’s signature silver cod roasted in champagne (£34) was a must order for us despite the hefty price tag.  The cod was silken and dripped with the thick, rich champagne sauce.  We teamed it with a side order of sauteed morning glory (£8.50) which was crisp and slightly sweet and some crunchy deep fried squid which was addictively moreish.

Apple tart

We shared two desserts between the table of the warm coconut rice pudding with mango caviar and black sesame crunch (£8) and a refined apple tart which featured a tower of puff pastry topped with ice cream.  Both were spectacular looking and caused me to challenge my general philosophy of not ordering dessert in Chinese restaurants.  

Dim sum platter

Not everything was perfect.  The annoying two hour time limit at tables was enforced and on the food front the dim sum platter (£12.50) was overly steamed leaving the dumplings on the soggy side.  However, despite the sale of Hakkasan by Alan Yau to an Abu Dhabi-based company in 2008, the restaurant continues to be a good option for a special night out in London.  Perhaps I should listen to MTV boyfriend occasionally.

Details: Hakkasan, 8 Hanway Place, Soho, W1T 1HD (Ph +44 (0) 207 927 7000) Tube: Tottenham Court Road
Damage: Pricey.  Our bill came to £80 a head but we were celebrating.
Hakkasan Hanway Place on Urbanspoon


  1. I love Hakkasan. The one in Mayfair is nice we go there for birthdays and our annivesary! I love the black forest martini.

  2. I am the lone dissenter I think. I’ve been to Hakkasan twice and was really disappointed both times. I didn’t like the decor at all, especially the darkness with one spotlight over our table that we had to push menus and food into to see! And I wasn’t impressed with food. Or service.
    Part of me thinks maybe I’m just not trendy enough for Hakkasan as I know people who love it, but I just don’t get it!

  3. I really like it too – as much for the atmosphere and cocktails as the food though!

  4. Oh, and how good are their uniforms? I would wear those blue dresses for a night out!

  5. This is what i call a classy food i cant wait to take a bite of Silver cod roasted in champagne and apple tart looks more like an art piece.

  6. My old boss used to take his mistress there every Friday night and then give me the receipt to claim back on expenses as “client entertaining”. Oh, and our department was not client facing! Ha!

  7. I haven’t been back to Hakkasan in a long while and it is probably time for a revisit as I definitely enjoyed the dinner I had there the last time.

    the dim sum platter looks really enticing. That silver cod in champagne is definitely a hefty price tag but I’ll save up for it. =)

  8. Hmmm, I think time for a revisit also. Not tried the Mayfair one either…

  9. It’s the cocktails I remember most fondly- last time we went was with a group – we lost control of the ordering and were pretty shocked at the price tag at the end of the night…

  10. I am also one of the very few who doesn’t get the restaurant either. The decor, lighting and lack of atmosphere as well as too large portions and being over priced…however, I have lots of friends whom love this place, so it appears to be one of those “marmite” places…but I think it is great when we disagree on restaurant reviews from time to time…there is never a right or wrong answer…keep up the great work!

  11. Kelly – Ooh the black forest martini sounds good

    Kavey – I am sure you are more than cool enough for Hakkasan! Although I do understand what you are saying, I think the table turning is one example of it being a little “too cool” plus the girls with clipboards on the door.

    Greedy Diva – Exactly my view

    John Lewis – It was

    Anon – It does look like the sort of place you could take a mistress weirdly…

    Kay – Yes the silver cod is worth it I think – save up!

    The Perfect Trough – I have not tried Mayfair either but have now been a few times to the Soho one.

    Tori – Yes the cocktails are so fun – but can add up.

    Anon – I like your description – I think it is a bit of a marmite restaurant.

  12. Ah I so want to visit! This is the kind of place that makes me feel like I’m really missing out by not living in London. It looks and sounds so fun and exotic.
    *kisses* HH

  13. I’ve heard good many things about Hakkasan before and you just made me want to go even more. Silver cod roasted in champagne? Yes please!!!

  14. can you believe I never made it to Hakkasan and I lived right around the corner from it!

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