Hakkasan at Bruton Street is the ultimate oriental getaway, and most especially during Golden Week, a holiday celebrating the formation of the People’s Republic and the magic of travel. Naturally, Coco&Co Ldn love travel, whether it be physically venturing across the globe, or embarking on a more localised voyage to the unofficial London-based Chinese Embassy, Hakkasan Mayfair. The mysterious atmosphere is characterised by the delicate use of dark wood with oriental motifs, dimmed lights of blue-ish hues, and gentle but evocative incense. Thus combining the elements of being in a quiet luxurious home and the busy streets of Shanghai, to which many culinary explorers venture during Golden Week. Their slogan “Elegance, Energy and Invention” is certainly an accurate description pervasive across all the Hakkasan Group’s venues, but the Bruton Street location is definitely the flagship in this regard. All the dishes have a well thought-out composition of ingredients and pure flavours, but yet always include that surprising and innovative element that makes you sit and wonder. The exquisite techniques and neat presentation truly speaks of chic style as well as high-end taste.
As a starter, we were proudly presented with a smoking hot wooden treasury box filled with perfectly made dumplings and other colourful fusion mouthfuls. Combinations of Duck and Prawn with fresh bursts of chives and other expertly infused Chinese herbs provided a rich and indulgent take on this traditional and ever-popular dish. The dim sum box was accompanied by two amazing sauces (sweet chilli and hoi sin) which accented each bite with warm and sweet flavour, and lingered with a signature oriental heat.
The Spicy Szechuan Rib-Eye Beef was so tender that it practically dissolved, unleashing its rich, earthy flavour. The chefs had really managed to reach the ‘Gold Standard’ here by incorporating all the five major tones; sweet & sour in the sauce, bitterness from the Szechuan pepper, salt and umami in the beef seasoning. This makes it impossible to describe or compare this dish to anything else – there really is nothing like it – *repeat* ‘nothing’. The Roasted Crispy Chicken with Mushroom in Oyster sauce represented a similar achievement by magically combining the elements of the earth and sea. So delicate was the balance between the rich flavours of the meat and the seasoned tones of the sauce that the natural divide between the two melted away on the pallet. It occurred to us as we dined, that the masterful chefs behind Hakkasan’s Golden Week were actually gastro-scientists; they had managed, like an expert perfumer, to harness the individual power of each ingredient to create a chorus that rang through perfectly and echoed the culinary pride that Chinese cooking demands.
Exclusively selected from the comprehensive a la carte menu, Coco&Co feasted on the Double Boiled Fresh Ginseng and Chinese Herb Soup with Sea Whelk, perfect for those seeking all the flavours of China in a light and easy meal. The Braised Whole Sea Bass in a Clay Pot was the perfect choice if traditional presentation is what the diner is looking for. As well as being succulent and inviting, it is also the dish to order if you enjoy all of your fellow diners being envious of your choice – always a welcome validation.
For dessert, the Golden Week menu provided the diner with the option of a Deep-Fried Sesame Ball with Green Tea and Peach, a surprisingly light and soothing recommendation after the wealth of flavours in the previous courses. Naturally, we took some Golden Macaroons home with us to enjoy at home with ginseng tea or Golden Champagne (a gift for guests during Golden Week) together with memories of our utterly addictive Hakkasan adventure.