Saturday, June 11, 2011


If you read my blog yesterday you'll know that I dined at the Michelin starred Hakkasan last night.

Now I don't know how you get a Michelin star. I'm guessing it's something like those gold stars we got for good work in kindergarten. Well, if that's how it goes, it's well deserved.

I had eaten at the London Hakkasan many years ago.
Back then I thought it was just another restaurant and didn't get all excited and dressed up like I did yesterday.
My usual dinner attire is stretch pants or a skirt. Yesterday, I wore a dress with a matching hairstyle, carried a purse and even wore a little blush. All this enthusiam to go for dinner while it was all rainy outside.
Real reason : They have a strict dress code which can be summarized as fancy.

Well, Bombay according to me is a somewhat boring place until something new opens up.
Years ago (when I was around 12), Mc Donald's had opened in Bombay and I stood in a super long queue on Linking Road for my first Mc Chicken Burger. I was nuts back then and nothing's changed.

So, yesterday I got all dolled up and went out for dinner with my family armed with a couple of Hakkasan reviews on my phone to help me out with ordering my food.
It started as a bit of a letdown. No valet parking. In the monsoon that's pretty bad.
Even the salon I go to (which happens to be on the same road) has valet parking.
No Ipad menus either.
But from this point it only kept getting better.
water projection on the ceiling.
The decor was beautiful. Great ambience. Classy and not over the top. It had a blue under-the-sea feel to it. The kitchen was hidden behind a translucent glass. The whole place was interesting in its details. It had water being projected onto the wooden ceiling. Nice touch. A bar upstairs. They had good loungy music playing. And then my grandmother asked the manager to lower the volume like we were in our living room and he was her talking remote.

The hostesses were "Oriental" (that's me trying to be politically correct).
But, they weren't of the same variety as those seen at Hawaiin Shack (that's me not being politically anything). They were trained to make polite conversation while showing you to your table. I got the whole "Hi! How was your day? Is it raining outside? bit". She probably didn't care but, I appreciated it.

Fun Fact...
Children below the age of 10 are not allowed.

Moving on...
So which celebrity did I see?
Sonam Kapoor. She looked lovely as always. Great bone structure.
Somehow everytime I see her sister, she's wearing a blazer but she manages to pull it off.
My sister calls 'girls in blazers' - the lesbian look.
Even though that makes absolutely no sense I get what she means and that's probably why you wouldn't see me wear one.
Now I'm going to try to focus on the food since this is not a fashion post.

Now about the food...
Was it extraordinary? I don't know.
But, it definitely wasn't like that of the typical Chinese food restaurant in Bombay.
Should Shakira change her lyrics to Hakka Hakka? Yes, I think it's time.

Soup/ Drinks...
We started with some soup. The first one on the menu. Chicken and Angelica root I think. I was told that the chicken was not so fun to eat with the skin on.
I was contemplating whether to have Tsingtao Beer or some good ol' Chinese tea.
I ended up having a Tea called Classical Beauty. I couldn't decide so the order-taking-man told me why not go with the tea that says something about you. Ok, that's a lie.
So, the tea was definitely good. But, nothing Michelin starred about it.

For starters we had, Crispy Duck Roll accompanied by some sweet plum sauce - I love duck rolls. But, again not very different from Royal China.
We also had Edamame Truffle dumplings. It's like a dumpling with soft green mushy baby-food like stuff inside. I liked it but it wasn't everyone's favourite. This one was 'Chef recommended'.
Then there was the soft shell crab. Interesting.
Tip: Everything tastes better with the sauces. Don't know whether that's a good or bad thing.

Main Course...
We had Hand pulled Hakka Noodles in little bowls. I don't know if they're really hand pulled but if it was, I appreciate the effort. It was not too oily, heavy or flavourful. Just right, when you want to partner it with a meat dish.
So, I coupled it with  some sweet San Pei Chicken (served in a claypot). Nice.
Can't comment on the 4 style vegetables. I didn't even serve myself 1 style. Not a fan of the veggies.

I'm nearly vegetarian but when I go to a Chinese restaurant I can only order meat. I'll never understand why.

This was what did it for me.
We ordered only 2 desserts. One of which was amazing.
Definitely try the Yoghurt parfait with raspberry sorbet and black sesame foam. Orgasmic!
It just made everything perfect.
They even give you wine recommendations to go with your dessert. Expensive!
Please skip the White chocolate mousse with passion fruit sorbet. Passion fruit sounds so good but it isn't. I just fell for the word passion. Sad, but true. It tastes like Mango gone sour.
We wanted to order the Jasmine Crème brûlée but then it wasn't there. Disappointing.

Loved the restaurant. The look. The service. The cold towel in the beginning. The hot towel in the end.
Most importantly, I loved the company.
I even loved the optimism with which they keep only chopsticks on every table. Not having good enough eating-with-chopsticks skills, I asked for a fork.
The music was good too. Surprisingly not Kenny G which seems to be a hot favourite at all Chinese restaurants and most elevators.

Loved the price? - not so much.
Question - Do you tip 10% in such a place?

But, if you think money is for spending or go by the one life to live philosophy or like me are not paying the bill - go for it!

Overall experience...
To be honest the food wasn't light years ahead of other Chinese restaurants in the city.
But, the overall experience was truly Hakk-awesome.


kritika said...

we seeing a food critic in making..way to go..

Neha Kamath said...

Hope so. Or I'm just a fussy person in a restaurant.

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