When you hear the name Hakkasan, images of the hottest nightclub in Las Vegas may conjure up in your mind, but Hakkasan actually began as a fine dining Chinese restaurant in London in 2001. Since then, it has expanded around the world to locations in such places as Mumbai, Shanghai, Dubai and the U.S., among others. Aside from the Las Vegas location, there is also one in Miami, New York, San Francisco, and closer to home in Beverly Hills.
From the moment you walk in, you are immediately enveloped in a sense of luxury, from the sexy blue-toned lighting to the sleek décor, vast separate dining rooms and high ceilings, this is a place you not only want to dine but spend the entire night tantalizing the senses.
It’s no surprise the menu is top-notch, as International Executive Chef Ho Chee Boon is a Michelin-starred chef with more than 24 years’ experience. He uses fresh local ingredients to make sure his modern take on traditional Cantonese cuisine is of the highest quality.
Our waitress Ariana was great and made wonderful recommendations, including the cocktail to start. The Zesty Martini made with Fair quinoa vodka, pineapple, ginger, cilantro and cracked sea salt was the perfect cocktail with which to whet the palate and get it ready for some culinary treats.
I started off my culinary adventure with the recommended Crispy Duck Salad with an exquisite blend of pomegranate, pine nut and shallot, atop an amazing crispy duck and fresh salad. It could quite honestly be the most perfect salad, good enough to be your entrée, but best to share as a starter, as you really don’t want to end your feast here.
Next, we moved onto the Hakka steamed dim sum platter with scallop shumai, har gau, Chinese chive dumpling and black crab dumpling. You can also opt for the Vegetarian dim sum platter with morel crystal dumpling, bamboo pith dumpling, bean curd lotus roll and edamame dumpling. If you’ve never experienced dim sum before, they’re little varied delights of delicious ingredients wrapped inside perfect pillows of rice flour. I had tried dim sum before at a traditional Chinese restaurant in Monterey Park, but these are a gourmet experience.
Next, I delved into one of Hakkasan’s most popular dishes and it is no surprise why. The Grilled Seabass with Chinese Honey is absolutely amazing! It really is as good as it sounds. You get two generous portions of the freshest, most succulent seabass seasoned in Chinese honey for the ultimate decadent experience, without being too sweet. This seabass literally melts in your mouth!
If you’re in the mood for duck, you’re in the right place as duck is one of Hakkasan’s specialties. The Black Truffle Roasted Duck is superb. They also have other duck options, such as Braised duck breast with lotus root in salty bean sauce and Peking duck with Tsar Imperial Shassetra caviar, whole duck with pancakes, cucumber and scallion, second course stir-fry with choice of XO sauce or black bean sauce.
If it’s beef you’re after, the Stir-fried black pepper beef with merlot is juicy and delicious. You can also opt for the Grilled Wagyu beef with King soya sauce, fresh lily bulb and shimeji mushroom, or the Wok fried beef tenderloin in Sha Cha yellow bean sauce. There are also chicken, pork, and lamb options to suit your fancy.
But be sure to leave room for dessert, because there are some divine offerings. I tried the Coconut panna cotta with rum-roasted pineapple, pistachio financier, and pistachio gelato. It was absolutely delicious, and the perfect dessert, not too sweet or heavy after an indulgent meal. Another fantastic choice is the unique Black Sesame chocolate sesame crémeux, served with yuzu ice cream & sesame Florentine. I thoroughly enjoyed this dessert as it was unlike any I ever tried, and not too sweet, perfect for those who say they aren’t usually a fan of dessert.
If you want to enjoy a cocktail for dessert, Harmony Harvest is a fitting choice for the season with Wiser’s rye whisky, Drambuie, El Maestro Sierra Amontillado Sherry, pumpkin purée and orange juice. It’s definitely a cocktail to be enjoyed alone, not with your meal.
Hakkasan Beverly Hills also has a gorgeous bar/lounge area if you simply want to go enjoy a cocktail and small bites.
And if you’re looking for somewhere to spend New Year’s Eve, there will be two seatings, one at 5:30 pm, which features a $78 prix fixe menu, and another from 6:30-9:30 pm for $138. The restaurant is already taking reservations. You can visit www.hakkasan.com for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-888-8661.
Hakkasan Beverly Hills is located at 233 N. Beverly Drive. They are open Monday through Saturday starting in the bar at 5:30 pm. See you there!