A Perfect Ten (Courses) | Chinese New Year at HKK, 88 Worship Street Broadgate Quarter, London EC2A 2BE
If you’re a fan of Chinese New Year (it’s the year of the sheep if you’re interested), or even if you’re not, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the culinary journey offered by HKK, which is part of the Hakkasan group. We normally find words like ‘culinary journey’ off putting and not necessarily true but in this case it really was. The beautifully designed tasting menu illustrated by Louise Morgan, is like a storybook taking you through the different regions of China. A helping hand is given by the waiter and sommelier who described each course as it was served to us.
It would be impossible and boring (for you) for us to go into detail about every course we ate, so we won’t, plus it would take away from the experience. If you can, we recommend the option of the wine flight (£58) to accompany the meal. Don’t worry it’s not too dangerous, the measures are gentle so you won’t risk staggering out, which is what happened the last time I had a wine flight, I think I’ve conquered my fear now. Plus it’s not just wine on offer, there are cocktails and sake too, including a Yáng Walker welcome drink containing the Chinese spirit Baijiu with refreshing grapefruit.
Despite the music getting a tad fast and clubby at times, we found the whole evening pretty relaxing, the equivalent of being pampered with endless treatments at a spa. That sounded better in my head, you’ll know what I mean if you go.
Michelin-starred head chef Tong Chee Hwee has created every dish on the menu using the ancient techniques of each specific region. There’s the option of an eight course (£68) or ten course menu (£98), with a veggie option available too (£62 for 8, £88 for 10). In fact the diner next to us went for the vegetarian choice so we were able to spy on what he ate.
One of our highlights without a doubt, was the gloriously crispy Cherry wood roasted Peking duck with a mahogany sheen – deceptively filling. The Dim sun trilogy was a pretty unusual trio – one dumpling had a creamy centre with steamed onions, almost pie-like. The goji berry and juicy prawn combo was a mutual favorite – sweet and crunchy.
Pan-grilled Chilean seabass in Sha Cha sauce was another stand out dish, with hints of ginger and a steady chilli kick, like little spring rolls using fish instead of the usual wrapper. A special mention to the Jasmine tea smoked poussin – so robust and tasty with beautifully crunchy roast chicken skin, we were pretty sad to finish this bowl.
Just when we thought we were almost at the end of our epic meal we had not one, but two desserts to eat. The first – a Trio of dark chocolate dumplings with yuzu and ginger infusion. This was my favourite of the two despite not being a fan of the whole chocolate with fruit thing. By some kind of witchcraft, the chocolate and citrusy yuzu somehow tasted so separate. This cooling effect was perfect timing after the fiery Sichuan chargrilled New Zealand scampi.
Talking of witchcraft, the accompanying drink for the poussin was a magical sake named Dewazakura “Izumi Judan”, Ginjo, Yamagata. It somehow felt empty in our mouths, like swallowing an incredibly soft bubble, you’ll know what we mean if you’ve had it.
Our three hours at HKK passed surprisingly quickly and we left feeling comfortably full after a steady pace of little dishes. If you’re going out to celebrate Chinese new year, this is the way to do it.
A Culinary Journey Through China menu is available until 28 February. For reservations call 020 3535 1888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
88 Worship Street, Broadgate Quarter
London EC2A 2BE
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3535 1888
Book a table online
Opening hours: Lunch on Monday – Saturday 12 noon – 2.30pm
Dinner: Monday – Saturday 6pm – 9.45pm
Dress code: Smart casual
Nearest station: Liverpool Street Station (4 mins walk) or Shoreditch High Street Station (9 mins walk)
We ate as guests of HKK, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.