Tucked away down a rather insalubrious looking alleyway off Oxford Street lies perhaps one of the best hidden gems in London, although its reputation and Michelin star have meant that Hakkasan is now widely recognised as one of the finest Asian eateries the capital has to offer.
Anyone who has tried to gain entry will know that booking is essential if you wish to pass into this subterranean world where you can indulge in one of the most memorable oriental experiences available.
Once inside, your eyes will need to quickly adjust to the low levels of lighting as you descend the stairs and are welcomed by the friendly staff. Enjoy a drink at the relaxed and well-stocked bar before you are seated at your table in the restaurant which is cleverly divided off with Chinese-themed screens to give a semi-private atmosphere without feeling at all enclosed. The decor is decadent yet authentic in feel and will allow you to arrive at the right frame of mind for consuming delicacies such as wagyu beef, lobster and Peking duck with royal beluga caviar.
Under head chef Tong Chee Hwee, the cuisine can only be described as out of this world, making your Saturday night take away from the Golden Dragon seem horribly inferior and prompting you to question whether it will ever be the same again. Dishes are small enough to allow diners to fill the table with huge variety and you will be amazed at the blend of flavours and textures.
After your meal, you will leave the orient behind and step out of the doors, blinking in the real world and looking surreally at the drinkers standing around outside the scruffy pubs in Hanway Place, knowing that you have just been somewhere rather special.
Hakkasan’s success can be measured by the fact that a second restaurant has been opened in Mayfair and the brand continues to flourish with additional venues in Miami, Abu Dhabi and Mumbai.
8 Hanway Place
Tel: 020 7927 7000