Harden's survey result
“Hakkasan has been setting the standard for modern Chinese food in London for ages now”, with the nightclubby, “dimly lit” original (“I had difficulty reading the menu and even seeing the food!”), opening “in a tiny, narrow lane with an anonymous entrance” near Tottenham Court Road in 2001; and although both it and its easier-to-find Mayfair spin-off’s styling “is a little bling bling” they continue to serve “seriously lovely” food and “refreshing” cocktails. There are drawbacks, which have also changed little over the years: it’s “very noisy”, staff can seem “bored” or “totally dismissive”, and “your wallet will have a hangover in the morning”.
“It is everything I would expect not to like: a proven formula, a bit on the expensive side, way too trendy… but in spite of everything I can’t get enough of it!” These “dark”, “nightclub-style”, “very noisy” Chinese/pan-Asians “haven’t changed since they opened” (which, in the case of the original, was 17 years ago in 2001, with Mayfair following in 2010). They are “still at the top of their game” with “always zingy and exciting” cuisine and a “chic and moneyed aesthetic” that particularly suits those looking for “a showy-off night out”. Service can be “haughty and inconsistent” – no changes there then either… Top Menu Tip: “still a go-to for quality dim sum”.
“Fast paced, seductive, club-like” – these “wonderfully vibey” operations may be “so busy and very noisy” but have founded a global brand on the strength of their “feel-good” ambience and “brilliantly executed Chinese/pan-Asian cuisine”. However, even some fans concede that they can also seem “hideously expensive” and “brusque” service (“we were kept waiting, only then to be hassled to order or risk being kicked off the table at the end or our 2-hour slot”) is a perennial gripe. Top Tip – “Their Dim Sum Sunday is exquisite”.
For a “classy” night out, these “noisy”, “nightclub-style” operations (the seeds of what’s now a global brand) have a huge reputation, with their “clever Chinese/pan-Asian” cuisine and “theatrical” Bond-lair styling. “Eye-popping” bills and “up-itself” service have always been hazards here, but accusations that they are “over-hyped and ridiculously over-priced” grew this year.
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Last orders: 12.30 am