Dim Sum Sunday – better than a bottomless brunch:
While a hidden lower ground floor restaurant in central London might sound like a hot summer’s day nightmare, Hakkasan Hanway Place is a stunning, contemporary styled Asian restaurant with GREAT air conditioning. What better place to escape and enjoy Dim Sum Sunday when it’s just too sticky to survive the City?
We arrived at an already buzzing restaurant. The Sunday Dim Sum lunch is a phenomenally good offer and it’s clear that since I first came to Hakkasan Hanway place in 2015, when Dim Sum Sundays were launched, the word has spread.
There were plenty of families – tiny Asian kids exhibiting more competence with chopsticks than my fifty years or so of trying have allowed me. That despite the encouragement of Chinese amahs in Malaysia when I was growing up. There were a few groups – it’s the kind of place I’d personally like to celebrate my birthday too. A lively but not overwhelming vibe. Dim Sum is a good family experience and whether you opt for the luxury of Hakkasan or not, you’ll find it does work well.
We settled down to enjoy our welcome cocktails.
My companion opted for a Pear B&B with Calvados, pear cordial, Benedictine, lemon and Bokers bitters, an uplifting and refreshing long cocktail with a good note of Calvados complementing the pear aromatic.
Having tried the Dim Sum Sunday menu before, albeit a few years ago, I decided to avoid spirits and opted for the Meishan mimosa which is a champagne-based cocktail with sweet orange, carrot and ginger. The perfect start to the meal for me.
It’s worth explaining that the Dim Sum Sunday menu comes with half a bottle of Louis Roederer champagne and two cocktails per person if you opt for the full price menu (£62). There’s also a slightly cheaper option with just one cocktail or mocktail included at £50. And of course, you can just eat from the main a la carte. But, I personally love the ‘all inclusive’ package here – it’s such a relaxed way to spend a Sunday.
The meal starts with a crispy duck salad – a refreshing mixture of warm duck, pine nuts, pomelo, salad leaves and a light hoisin dressing. Mixed at the table it’s the perfect way to take the edge off our appetites
Next, two platters of dim sum. There’s a steamer full of classics – all delicious and frighteningly moreish. Har gau is a traditional steamed crystal shrimp dumpling, here served with an excellent light wrapper containing the soft, fresh filling. The scallop shumai was immaculately presented, a perfectly steamed plump scallop with just a hint of wrapper and a sprinkling of caviar. I can’t really pick a favourite, but if I had to order just one it would be that scallop shumai…
The fried dim sum platter was no less pretty. Baked venison puff, rich with a meaty filling, a light crisp spicy mooli and crab meat pastry, a rich gold seafood and cheese roll and a stunning but perhaps a little heavy smoked duck and pumpkin puff.
It’s at this point that if you are me, you pause in some foolish belief that you’ve finished eating. There is actually a main course and dessert to come, though the main course is reasonably light and there’s a dessert menu to choose from.
Stir-fry black pepper rib eye beef with merlot was delicious. While the tender meat was served in a rich sauce, it came with a large vegetable stir-fry of water chestnut, sugar snap and cloud ear mushrooms. Oh and plenty of spring onion and egg fried rice too.
As mentioned, there are a choice of desserts. My companion opted for the grown-up rice krispies cake…a Jivara bomb with milk chocolate, hazelnut praline and yes, real rice krispies.
My more sophisticated option (!) was the macaron selection which comes prettily presented in a traditional steamer and actually is a reasonably light dessert!
There are dessert cocktails too – and helpfully, each dessert comes with its own recommendation. If I’m totally honest, I really didn’t need another cocktail, but they did look very pretty!
My only service suggestion is that for me, half a bottle of champagne with a meal is probably enough. I don’t normally drink non-alcoholic cocktails, and I am sure they are available at Hakkasan on request but I’d have liked the option – perhaps as a pairing in the same way as the alcoholic options were presented.
I can’t really fault Dim Sum Sunday though – apart from being excellent value, the food is high quality, the service immaculate and you get to drink decent Champagne too. The perfect alternative to a bottomless brunch? Yes, I really think it is.
Hakkasan Hanway Place
8 Hanway Place