Hakkasan Group’s latest restaurant, HKK offers a range of tasting menus for practically every type of consumer: carnivore; vegetarian; gluten, nut and mushroom intolerant, and fussy eaters. I was quite taken back by the amount of thought and consideration Chef Tong Chee Hwee has put into providing a fresh, innovative menu; ensuring that even a vegetarian or difficult eater would have an equally memorable experience as a carnivore who would get his duck personally carved.
HKK is all about the tasting menus; and the food falls nothing short of the expectations one would have from a Michellin Star restaurant, whose umbrella group Hakkasan has already brought Chinese fine dining to London. The ambience however was a little disappointing. I was not quite sure what to make of the choice of the interior design; which was borderline high-end simplicity slash corporate clean cut. The decor however was quickly forgotten as the service was outstanding and the mood in the room was very much relaxed and casual.
HKK offers multiple options for lunch: a la carte, 4 course, 5 course, 8 course, 10 course or 15 course tasting menu. In the evenings however, the only option is a 15 course-tasting menu at £88 per head for vegetarians and £98 per head for the normal menu. I would highly recommend the 10 course vegetarian tasting menu, which is available at lunch and at 6pm from Thursdays to Saturdays. At £68 a head – it is totally worth it.
The menu had a great balance of delicate flavours, warm earthy notes, multitude of textures, and a beautiful range of vegetables. HKK has an excellent drinks menu to compliment the flavours of the menu. I opted for the High Mountain Oolong tea, though if you are feeling adventurous there is a wonderful drink pairing option. Yam is definitely a favourite of Tong Chee Hwee; which featured in a salad with pumpkin and Shaxing wine jelly; and in a stir-fry of garlic shoots and lily bulbs. In both dishes yam was the perfect complimenting ingredient.The double-boiled bamboo pith and goji berry soup was a smooth heart warming soup – perfect on a cold winter’s day. I love small touches – and thus was thrilled to receive a paintbrush to garnish my delicious dim sum with soy sauce.
I am usually not a huge fan of tofu, bean curd, or mock duck. However HKK has converted me! The crispy bean curd roll with black truffle was actually one of my favourite dishes. The black truffle and plum sauce provided a rich earthy flavour to the finely cut vegetables in the roll. The Chinese spiced soy silken tofu melted in my mouth and the delicate Schezwan flavours were finger lickingly good! The Jasmine tea smoked vegetarian duck was mock duck in its truest form. The textures and the braised marks on the skin, were a little concerning for a vegetarian, however once convinced that this is mock duck done with a lot of careful preparation I thoroughly enjoyed the dish.
Both deserts were incredible, which is a pleasant surprise as I have never been one to order desert at a Chinese restaurant. But this is no ordinary Chinese restaurant. This is fine dining at its best. Of all the vegetarian tasting menus I have tried this is probably one of the best. So there really is no option, you have to try HKK. At the end of January 2015, Dylan Joon – the General Manager tells me HKK will be launching a new vegetarian tasting menu – I can’t wait!
HKK, Broadgate West, Worship Street, London, EC2A 2BE, +442035351888
Pumpkin and yam salad with Shaoxing wine jelly
Vegetarian dim sum trilogy
Crispy bean curd roll with black truffle
Double-boiled bamboo pith and goji berry soup
Garlic shoot, lily bulb and yam soup
Morel mushroom in King soy sauce
Jasmine tea smoked vegetarian duck
Chinese spiced soy silken tofu
Green apple jelly with black pepper ice cream
Caramelised Duck pear, ginger and pear cream, puff pastry