Sunday Dim Sum – Tea Chinese Style:
Apparently dim sum is synonymous with tea in China. My favourite afternoon teas are those which involve champagne so it’s an easy step to approve of Hakkasan Hanway Place’s offering of dim sum and more, all washed down with copious quantities of tea, cocktails, champagne,. A few minutes’ walk from Tottenham Court Road station, the unprepossessing entrance to the restaurant opens into a contemporary opium den that manages to fuse modern comfort and style with oriental tradition. It’s a classy place.
The signature set menu for Dim Sum Sunday started with a welcome cocktail. In some effort to limit my alcohol consumption I picked the Meishan Mimosa; Louis Roederer Brut Champagne, carrot, ginger and orange. It soundeds almost healthy…and tasted refreshing and piquant. There’s a choice of 6 cocktails on the menu and a further four non-alcoholic options. Outside the set menu offer, they are priced at £12.50 or £7 for the non-alcoholic version.
Dim sum Sunday started with a crispy duck salad, a light and refreshing plateful of salad leaves with crispy duck, pomelo, pine nut and a shallot dressing. The touch of pomelo cut through the duck to create a fresh mouthful, an excellent start to the meal and a good complement to the Mimosa I was still sipping.
Next up, a selection of deep fried dim sum. I particularly liked the baked venison puff, though I can’t vouch for its authenticity. But, for me at least, everything was delicious. If I’d been left eating nothing but deep fried dim sum I’d have been happy.
I loved the stunning golden radish crab meat pastry to look at and was delighted to discover it was light, flakey and nicely filled with peppery crab. Smoked duck and pumpkin puff, a fluffy bun of pumpkin puree and smokey duck came in the shape of a tiny pumpkin while the royal king crab and truffle roll was a delicate fried wrapper filled with crab fragranced with just a little truffle.
Steamed dim sum were served in individual bamboo steamers, one per person, so that no one could fight over how many of their favourite they had eaten. My favourite was the scallop shumai with a neat caviar topping. But, to be honest, each steamed dumpling was delicious and I also enjoyed our ‘extra’ dish which I believe was prawn cheung fun.
There’s more though, the set menu includes two main courses – a stunning and delicious stir fry black pepper ribeye beef with merlot and XO seafood with water chestnut in a lettuce wrap. I loved the seafood, but struggled with the lettuce wrap as we seemed to have tiny leaves which were woefully inadequate as wraps (or maybe I was just greedy?).
No matter, I simply loaded up a leaf and ate it unwrapped…a spicy, tender mixture of fish with crunchy water chestnut for texture.
Along with our main courses there were generous helpings of seasonal veg and ginger and spring onion fried rice.
I believe we managed to try all three dessert options. My choice, macaron, were beautifully presented but variable in quality. While they were all truly delicious I got the impression that one of the trio was either undercooked or just too fresh from the oven. Macaron have to dry out a bit and if you eat them too quickly, you’ll get a kind of chewiness throughout without that crisp shell. But, the flavours were perfect – I particularly liked the pistachio with a good scattering of fresh nuts on top
The meal finished with another cocktail – in my case, Fitzrovia Plum with 12 year old Suntory Hakushu whiskey, plum sake, limoncello and gingerbread. And, then a very necessary coffee before we staggered home.
Hakkasan Dim Sum Sunday is remarkable both for its value (the menu with cocktails and champagne is £58 per person) and for the quality of the food which is served. It’s a truly beautiful setting too and makes a great change from Sunday Roast at the local.
Hakkasan Hanway Place
8 Hanway Place