What’s it like: Taking what is essentially a simple and hearty cuisine, and elevating it to a sophisticated lounge experience, is an art perfected by Hakkasan. From the torch-lit stone pathway set over water leading up to the entrance, to the lush greenery surrounding the outdoor terrace area, you get a very Zen-like feeling as you walk in. The stylishly contemporary interiors are cavernous, with three separate sections, each offering a different vibe, with one thing in common – good service, fabulous cocktails, and a buzzing atmosphere, with little things like the music volume being just right, making all the difference to the overall experience.
The menu is varied, and torn for choice, we got greedy and for starters, ordered not only a selection of steamed dim sum – which were little parcels of delight – but also a roasted mango duck with lemon sauce (deliciously crisp on the outside, with thin slivers of fresh mango complementing the meat perfectly) as well as the star of our meal, fried soft shell crab with chilli and curry leaf – bursting with flavour, succulent, and very moreish. For mains, we opted for a Sanpei chicken claypot, in which tender pieces of chicken came dressed in a light sauce with spring onion, sweet basil and dried chilli, and was delicious with fragrant jasmine rice. We couldn’t decide if we liked it more than the stir-fry Wagyu beef cheek with Szechuan pepper, but either way, both were polished off.
With very little room left for dessert, we soldiered on nonetheless, and opted to share the selection of homemade sorbets, which had the flavours of fresh fruit coming clearly through, and the chocolate pavé with caramelised banana , which offered a stylish, modern and delicious take on a traditional Asian-style dessert.
If you want to go: Approximate price for dinner for two is Dhs750, without drinks. Call 04-3848484.
Best for: A lavish evening out with friends