Sister restaurant to Hakkasan Hanway Place (Tottenham Ct Rd) serving quality modern and traditional Chinese dishes in a stylishly and dimly lit setting, mostly suited for younger, vibrant crowds
This is my second visit to Hakkasan Mayfair and straight off I forgot that there was ground floor seating (as opposed to Hanway place which has a pretty steep flight of stairs to enter their basement dining area only) and was a nice bonus to be seated here. As it was Chinese New Year it was understandably utterly packed with a queue just to punch in for coats and the reservation stand. Service was only partially affected and I thought on the whole was very good considering the sheer volume of people to turn over on multiple sittings for the evening and there is no denying the bustling atmosphere – I did think the music was too loud though to try and compensate for this noise which only makes people talk louder as well, so it is not well suited to those hard of hearing.
I thought the food on this occasion was just what you would wish – careful execution of simple dishes such as the dim sum and I have to say the chili and soy sauces were exceedingly good (not too hot and just the right sweetness). The set menu was in honour of Chinese New Year and this included a free cocktail, vegetarian and meat dim sum with spring roll or venison puffs accordingly (with very light and fluffy pastry) and a choice of mains / desserts. The Peking duck slices in szechuan sauce and cracker strips was knock out – that wonderful, happy feeling I used to have as a child going to my favourite Chinese restaurant was fostered as a result. The Hakka noodles (with mushroom), gently spiced tofu and asparagus strips with plain rice were all well done but the second applause went to the cod fillet in honey with mushrooms fried in batter on top – this was outstandingly fresh and pleasant. Desserts of chocolate parfait with biscuit cracker and popping candy was good and the apple tartin was even better.
All in all it was a very good menu, good value at £38pp for 3 courses and a cocktail and this is now sealed as a good option for Chinese food if you can take a little extra noise and don’t mind having to feel as if you need to gain permission from a Bouncer to gain entry.
Food Grade: 79%
Pretty much exactly the same as the flagship in Hanway Place in every way except being in a nicer part of London and with no long cocktail bar. The menu is virtually identical so it pretty and Mayfair is slightly smaller in inside with the same décor so it is pretty much where one would prefer address wise. I can understand bouncers needed for Hanway Place as it is, within its tucked away address, in the heart of drunkville on a Friday and Saturday night, but the two doormen who are essentially bouncers just seem slightly out of place and makes you feel as if you need permission for your own entrance to table that you booked. I may have seen them on a bad night for this visit, but ultimately the food was still good, but I noticed that the service has taken a downward trend in that would benefit from not taking itself too seriously. No natural desire to go running back for another meal at this one, but if I do, it won’t be regretted.
Food grade: 83%
Location (Click google logo for directions)