Hakkasan in Abu Dhabi was the first branch of the famous London-based restaurant to open in the UAE, located in the truly spectacular five star Emirates Palace Hotel, where it’s been since it first opened in 2010.
Hakkasan is a world-renowned Michelin starred restaurant brand with a small number of restaurants in key international locations, which offer their own, unique interpretation of Chinese food.
A meal at Hakkasan is a complete experience in itself, with not only fantastic food, but magical surroundings that really make your meal here a special one. The restaurant is carefully divided into sections, using oriental screens to divide up the space, all with their own look and feel. Light is carefully focussed on the tables, creating interesting shadows and a real sense of intimacy.
It really is a must to start your evening at the bar. The long blue-lit bar is at the back of the restaurant, with the entire back wall decked out with the most astonishing array of drinks, from the familiar bottles to the more unusual, such as the Dalmore Candela single malt Scotch whisky, at 10,000 Dirhams a shot. The cocktails at Hakkasan are utterly sensational. Our favourite, was The Hakka, the restaurant’s signature cocktail, which is a perfectly balanced blend of Grey Goose vodka, sake, coconut milk, lychee juice and passion fruit seeds. It is totally exquisite, and makes for a great start to your visit. The lychee martini is a must-try too, and works extremely well with the food on the menu.
You don’t have to wait long for your food at Hakkasan, and when it arrived, it did not disappoint. We went for the crispy duck salad and the jasmine tea smoked Wagyu beef ribs to start. We had not expected both to be as outrageously good as they were, despite our high expectations. The salad was a complete triumph, with a salad of fresh micro leaves, pomelo flecks, pomegranate seeds, wafer-thin slices of shallot and toasted Italian pine nuts mixed with freshly shredded duck, which was done by the waiter on our table after it arrived. Every bite was scrumptious, with a perfect balance of meltingly soft flesh and crispy skinned duck, and the sweet and sour combination of component ingredients. The Wagyu beef ribs were amazing, too, with the most extraordinarily complex balance of flavours and supremely tender beef.
Moving on to the main course, we tried the whole chargrilled lobster with spicy butter, which was very, very good. We also went for the Wagyu beef egg-fried rice with XO sauce – again, delicious, with the most wonderfully addictive savoury notes that made us keep coming back for more.
There is a delicious selection of desserts on offer, but the sorbet was a real favourite for us – all flavours, the blood orange, mango and lemon flavours were equally wonderful, and made a refreshing end to what ended up being quite a substantial meal – with food this good, we didn’t want to waste a thing.
Food allergies are sensitively catered for with a special menu for gluten free diners available on request.
Having visited Hakkasan Abu Dhabi with high expectations, we were absolutely not disappointed. In fact, our experiences were much better than we had even dared anticipate and a visit is most highly recommended for a meal to remember.