October 1 marks the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and the country is known to take a week off to celebrate. Hakkasan outlets across the world – Mumbai included – are extending the festivities till October 18, with a Golden Week menu that is serious bang for your buck.
We’re talking Rs 2,250 per head, all inclusive, for soup, dim sums, two mains with rice and noodles, dessert and a pretty potent cocktail (or mocktail). Here’s why you should try it:
Start off with a hearty clear soup to cleanse your palate for a riot of flavours to come. We had the non-vegetarian version with prawn and scallop (a hint of chilli oil adds a great punch), but vegetarians would be just as impressed with their shimeji mushroom and pak choi version.
The dim sum platter is a visual treat and mostly lives up to expectations. Ours had two dumplings each of four varieties – smoked chicken and prawn, crabmeat, black pepper sea bass and steamed lobster dumpling). The first two emerged clear favourites.
Hakkasan’s special cocktail for the festival is well worth its hefty price tag (Rs 850 if ordered exclusive of the meal). The Golden Iced Tea packs in Belvedere vodka, Tanqueray No. 10 gin, Tapatio Reposado tequila, Diplomatico Reserva rum, Cointreau, orchid tea syrup, peach bitters and champagne – potent, but ridiculously good. Our server says the drink is designed to last the duration of the meal, and that prediction is spot-on. Teetotallers, there’s a non-alcoholic version for you, with peach juice, orchid tea and ginger ale (Rs 375).
Just like our previous experiences at Hakkasan, the latter half of our meal has never been as good as the first. Between two of us, there was plenty – ginger fried rice, stir-fry ramen noodles in spicy sauce, stir-fry chicken (or vegetarian chicken, seriously) in home style fragrant chili sauce, and crispy broccoli and preserved olive with crispy seaweed and pine nuts. Look past the well-cooked but generic chicken preparation to take in the masterful creation that the broccoli is – simple, healthy and so, so good.
Also unimpressive is the other special dish for the festival – honeycomb-flavoured macarons covered in gold leaf. We were served a generous portion of four, but stuck to one each. They were too sweet, and a bit hard, seemingly coming straight out of a fridge. Overall, though, this meal is great value for money (as is the Monday-Thursday set menu for lunch), and those who find Hakkasan a tad out of reach, this is a great way to acquaint yourself with the premium restaurant’s food philosophy.