Hakkasan, Hanway Place
For an elegant yet impressive dinner date venue, I would recommend Hakkasan, Hanway Place branch. Although one would think to go to the Mayfair branch, I chose the Hanway Place branch situated near Tottenham Court Road because it is Michelin-starred as well.
It can be found in the backstreets of Oxford Street and so is almost undetectable from the outside.
Once inside however you are transformed to the sophisticated, intimate restaurant and high service. With the sleek interior design that is minimalist yet shows respect to nature, you enter the manned cloakroom before being seated to your table.
The restaurant has been split into two parts; the formal dining area and the intimate bar area. For my date we sat in the formal dining area which was low-light but spacious. Our table was clean, glass and seating was sleek and minimalist.
The restaurant is well-known for its cantonese culinary masterpieces and fine selection of wines, as well as its innovative range of cocktails. We opted for their ‘taste of hakkasan’ set menu as there is an extensive range on the a la carte menu. This made it easier during the date as we did not want to spend a long time choosing our food. We wanted to enjoy the experience of dining at Hakkasan along side enjoying each other’s company. The ‘taste of hakkasan’ set menu was a perfect choice as it consisted of small eats, main, dessert and a cocktail and provides a great introduction to what Hakkasan has to offer at £38 per person which is incredibly good value for this michelin-starred world renowned fine dining establishment. Hakkasan also offer a larger set menu called ‘The Hakkasan Collection’ at £90 per person which shows off the creme-de-la-creme of what Hakkasan can offer. As well as this, they offer a menu with their signature dishes and a weekend brunch. For a fine dining restaurant, they seem to offer something for everyone.
As we settled in to our evening, the atmosphere was pleasant with the sound of soft chatter and clinking of glasses in the background along with the soothing sounds of slow dance music. The waiters were very attentive but not overly intrusive which was exactly what we needed during our date.
We chose one of the vegan small eats and one of the meat options. For the vegan option we were served spring rolls and mushroom dim sum. For the meat option we were served chicken and pork dim sum with exotic mushroom and both came with sakura salad. The setting meant that we were able to discuss our dishes and even share our dim sum during the date. It was a good way to find out more about each other’s tastes and choices.
We also ordered our cocktails and I went for the ‘Ruby Tang’ Hendrick’s gin, HK Baijiu, lychee, pomegranate and rose water. My date went for the ‘Lychee Martini’ Belvedere vodka, lychee, lime and orange cream citrate bitters. Both cocktails were sublime and we both commented on how enjoyable they were.
As dinner progressed we discussed our love for cantonese food and fine dining. The restaurant was quiet enough to have a decent conversation but lively enough to have a buzz about it. This was even more evident from the bar area which you can see from our table.
For mains we ordered the Three style mushroom stir-fry v with gai lan, lily bulb and macadamia nut and Stir-fry Chilean sea bass in truffle sauce with shimeji. Both came with chinese vegetables and steamed jasmine rice. The mains were divine with all the flavours of the ingredients oozing out in each bite. We were also delighted at how filling the mains were. On first glance the set menu looked like a good light dinner choice, but after the small eats and the mains we were both pretty full. This was another sign of how surprisingly good value the set menu was.
Again the interchanges between courses and topping up our glasses was done seamlessly with very little disturbance to our dance. This meant that there were no awkward interruptions and me and my date were left to concentrate on our conversation throughout dinner so far.
The final course, dessert was a spectacle however in an impressive way that left a lasting memory for our dining experience. The set menu stated that the dessert was the chef’s selection which meant we had no idea what we would be served until it arrived at our table. This left an air of mystery and again was a talking point for our date.
When the desserts were served we were advised that it was a ball of ice cream set in white chocolate, coated in baked rice flakes sitting in a swirl of popping candy. It looked delicious and we could not wait to have a taste. The waiters then proceeded to pour hot, melted dark chocolate on top of the desert which then covered the ball. It now resembled a large ferrero rocher. It tasted exceedingly good, like a sweet naughty treat as the end of our healthy dinner. The combination of the popping candy with the ice cream at the centre was tantalizing. Although the presentation of the desert did disturb our date, it was a welcome one because of the spectacle, the unique dining experience that we shared together.
Overall we had a very good experience on our dinner date in Hakkasan. It was a beautiful dining experience on its own but was also a very suitable choice for a dinner date. From the low-light seating area, to the spectacular show-stopping dessert, Hakkasan provides an elegant, sophisticated choice for a memorable dinner date experience.