There are certainly no two other words that cling better together in our ears. Duck, Champagne. Taste it. Subtle, yet so bold and delicate. Indulgence. Patience.
Coco&Co Ldn were invited to HKK, Hakkasan’s experimental Modern Cantonese restaurant concept, to try their Duck & Champagne menu comprising cherry wood roast Peking duck from the restaurant’s very own Peking duck oven and Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV Champagne. HKK, located behind London Liverpool Street Station, is definitely a hidden gem, and the delicate and private interior speaks of intimate conversations and professionalism. HKK offers a lux Chinese fine dining experience which optimizes the art and skills renown to the Hakkasan brand. Tong Chee Hwee, the Michelin-starred Head Chef, and his team of kitchen magicians, showcase the very best of Chinese cooking, clearly illustrating Chef Tong’s passion for complex and trendy dishes which they perfectly send out from their culinary laboratory to conquer the world. The HKK kitchen develops truly unique dishes by utilizing ancient and contemporary recipes and techniques, paired with local and organic produce and coastal seafood from the British Isles where possible.
The first dish of the Duck & Champagne menu was a magical Blue Crab Salad, neatly presented with oozing dry ice and small Asian flowers, which almost resembled an Asian twist to Claude Monet’s Les Nymphéas. The dare-we-say legendary duck with HKK’s trademark crispy skin and umami-rich meat, which the team uses two days and several cooking techniques and skills to create, followed after the refreshing starter. The menu clearly pays homage to Chef Tong’s signature dish. We feasted on the exquisite cherry-wood roasted Peking duck in all the next three servings as the menu offers one Peking duck shared across three different dishes. The first serving comprised duck, black truffle mantou and imperial caviar (probably the most sensational umami experience ever) – and my-oh-my did we enjoy it. The duck was presented in 3 different ways accompanied by a fun sugar-like substance and hoisin sauce, and Chef Tong explained to us that the components are to be consumed in the following order: 1) Crispy duck skin combined with fresh, green Asian salad, 2) Crispy and tender duck with a subtle glazing to be eaten alone and 3) Tender and delicate duck served in a bun. It was at this point that we really acknowledged the talent of Christine Parkinson, Head Wine Buyer, who has won numerous awards for her fresh and innovative wine lists. HKK’s wine list embodies the journeys of Mrs Parkinson, and her expertise truly lifts the pace and taste of the subtle dishes.
The second serving of duck offered a modern take on crispy duck where the traditional steamed pancakes were swapped with a more sweet and artsy version containing sesame, again showcasing Chef Tong’s ability to innovate and play with a beloved and traditional recipe. The third serving featured duck and rich abalone supreme stock and was accompanied by a luxurious version of egg fried rice. After finishing half the third serving, we started to get stressed as we were not sure how to finish the remaining duck, but we still managed to continue the feast as it was so irresistibly good. Dessert (stressed spelt backwards!) – as the dessertarians we are, there is no meal without dessert, although we prefer our desserts light and rich if such a thing exists. When we were given a light yet rich Nashi Pear and Champagne mousse with Champagne sorbet and cotton candy we realized it indeed exists. Melanie Nelson-Ström, Head Chef for Desserts, and her team create the most extraordinary flavour bombs which perfectly captures the best of what the European and Chinese cuisine have to offer. Many of our best dessert experiences have been with Hakkasan (a personal favourite is their hazelnut praline with rice krispies), but the Nashi Pear dessert opened up an even bigger world with its fresh notes – like spring in a bowl.
We left HKK feeling content and pleased for having been able to participate in such an adventurous journey. The Duck & Champagne menu is not for the faint-hearted – that is, as Charles Dickens best said it, “Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life”, and when paired with duck, it is a hell-of-a-good extra.
The Duck & Champagne menu is served in HKK’s spacious and modern restaurant in 88 Worship Street, and is only available on Saturdays from 12pm to 4pm.