I knew I may struggle to enjoy this place as soon as I had to walk through 2 bouncers on the door. You then walk down a corridor and pass two girls in a little alcove who awkwardly stare at you untill you tell them you want to leave your coats with them. At the very end of the corridor a sea of pretty girls in red dresses clutter the front desk. Behind all this a much sterner lady takes you to your seat. We were sat on ground level which is unbearably loud and has a feeling of a posh Wagamama. We were unaware that there is a MUCH smarter and calmer restaurant downstairs so make sure you tell them where you want to sit when you book.
Conversation between my gentleman companion and I ground to a halt as we just couldn’t hear what we were saying, yet we could hear everything the tables next to us we’re saying. “look at me I’m louder than you” seemed to be the attitude of the clientele here. Once I had my grandad moment and turned down my hearing aid I started to get into it.
The price is the first thing you’ll notice here. The second being that the service is completely void of personality. A harmless but dead-behind-the-eyes girl took our order and answered some questions. We asked her how the duck comes, to which she replied abruptly “it’s not duck and pancakes” like that’s the only chinese dish we could relate to.
We ordered what we thought to be quite a lot of food and asked if that was too much and she said “not if you’re sharing”. It ended up being far too much and we had to leave a lot which is a shame. Food like they serve at Hakkasan should be described by passionate waiting staff. I want to be told what the dishes are by someone who knows and has tasted them, but she looked too busy to care.
We got a dimsum platter to start (£14). Colourful parcels looked inviting and tasted delicious. I ended up being rather uncoothe and using my spoon to cut them in half as using my chopsticks was making quite a soy sauce splashing mess.
One and a half minutes later our next dish arrived. Prawn toast with foie gras (£17) sadly looked like something TGI Fridays would serve and there was absolutely no flavour of foie gras and they were mouth scalding hot. Little crispy deep fried mushrooms were both cold and tasteless.
Two minutes later the main dishes arrived. Jasmine smoked chicken (£17.50) was far too strong. The smoke tasted bitter and acrid. It was the sort of taste that stays with you for weeks afterwards. The chicken had gone a duck like brown and the texture was dry and like nothing I’d ever eaten before. If you ate it with your eyes shut you wouldn’t know what you were eating, you would simply know it was disgusting.
The merlot beef (£23.50) however, was delicious. Sweet and sticky and perfectly tender chunks of beef melted in the mouth.
Scallop with long bean (£26.80) had neither scallop or long bean in it. From what I could taste it was three prawn balls in a tomato sauce. The food all came far too quickly as we hadn’t even had a second to blink before the next dish arrived.
The most offensive dish came last in the way of petit fours. My gentleman companion and I were so stuffed from our over ordering that we couldn’t manage a whole dessert so opted for the petit fours at £8.50. They consisted of a few over cooked and tasteless Madeleine’s, two caramel filled truffles and three chocolate twigs which had no flavour whatsoever. There’s two of us why serve three twigs?
The bill came to £132.10 with no alcohol. For that kind of dosh throw in the tasteless petit fours for free. Even then I would say this is an overpriced, over staffed, disappointment of a restaurant.