“Your 2010 Christmas present is 12 memorable meals out over the next 12 months, featuring:
Modern Italian Cuisine
High Class Dim Sum
in London, Surrey and farther afield.”
“On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” a high class dim sum lunch at Hakkasan in London’s Theatreland district.
I really love dim sum – those delicate little steamed dumplings filled with a variety of wonderful things, as well as many other individual portions of Cantonese-style dishes traditionally served with Chinese tea. I used to make them when I lived in Paris and had a regular, local source of won ton wrappers, but I have to admit they’re very fiddly and often don’t taste as good as even the frozen ones you can buy in Asian shops. Other than the odd Spring Roll wrapped in rice paper pancakes I can’t remember making any proper dim sum since I’ve lived here in England.
So when John programmed Hakkasan as the Eleventh Day of Christmas, I was absolutely thrilled.
An oasis of serenity
Getting to the restaurant itself was another story altogether. Neither John nor I were thrilled with the 28-minute drive through London that turned into a 90-minute nightmare of one-way streets and misguided GPS directions. So by the time we got to Hakkasan we were stressed and frustrated, and I could have bitten someone’s head off. Yes, mild-mannered Madame Thermomix can show a bit of a temper when pushed
But as soon as we pushed open the door of Hakkasan Hanway Place, we entered an oasis of serenity. Gentle lighting. Peaceful music. Dark oak panelling. The stark simplicity of a single lily in a beam of light against a black background. This is just what we needed – calmness, serenity and some good dim sum. After our unpleasant journey we were ready to be taken care of almost completely, so when we asked for suggestions on which dim sum to order we were more than happy to accept our server’s offer to bring us a selection of classic dishes.
The result was phenomenal. Apart from limescale stains on the feet of the wine glasses that would shame any restaurant let alone a Michelin-starred establishment, our meal was faultless. The choice of dishes was complementary, including steamed and fried selections as well as some truly tasty Singapore noodles. And although I chose a chocolate and caramel dessert that was anything but Chinese in origin, it was just as delightful as the rest of the meal.
In addition to a pot of Jasmine tea, cleverly brewed to perfection before putting it in the pot so that no tea leaves remained to steep until bitter, we sampled glasses of wine from Hakkasan’s award-winning wine list. Ranging from the sublime to the ridiculously good, there is not an ordinary wine on it. Wide-ranging, the list includes wines from nearly every wine-producing country in the world and from moderate prices right up to several thousand pounds per bottle.
While we chose all our dishes from the Dim Sum menu, there are also many, many other dishes available from Hakkasan’s chefs, including lush-sounding pairings of meat, fish or seafood with unusual accompaniments – plenty enough for at least one more trip to Hakkasan!
Bon appétit !