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Fails to deliver

The main dining room at the newly opened Hakkasan in contrast, is the more Mandarin-inspired private dining area.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2011 15:26 IST
Shweta Mehta

Like its original branch in London, the main dining room at the newly opened Hakkasan has dark wooden furniture set against white marble slabs. A translucent blue screen gives us a view of the open kitchen. In contrast, is the more Mandarin-inspired private dining area.

The concise menu is impressive, with adequate choices for meat eaters and vegetarians. Some prices are questionable — a scoop of ice cream for Rs 350 or a seasonal fruit platter for Rs 650- while most other dishes are priced between Rs 750 to 1,500. We began with crispy duck rolls (Rs 450) that were a tad salty, but the hoisin dipping sauce made them a worthy starter. The hakka steamed dim sum basket (Rs 850) offered four choices of dim sums – har gau, scallop shu mai, Chinese chive dumpling and zucchini prawn dumpling. While they looked distinctly different from each other, their blandness was a common factor.

For the main course, we chose braised chicken and wild mushrooms (Rs 750) with the chef’s special rice (Rs 650) that had dried scallops, red wine and asparagus. The rice turned out to be very dry, and none of the flavours stood out. The chicken was more or less bland, as were the mushrooms and vegetables that accompanied it.

But when dessert arrived, the argument about the food not living up to its standards was thrown completely off track. The yoghurt parfait, raspberry sorbet and black sesame foam (Rs 400) was an absolute knockout and a redemption of sorts for the restaurant.

Service-wise, it’s easy to see where Hakkasan earned its coveted Michelin star. The staff is courteous and managers are dressed in sharper suits than their well-heeled patrons. We had our own server, who introduced himself, and confidently answered our questions. He cleaned the table after every course, gave us cold towels before our meals and hot towels after, and quietly placed forks and knifes at our table when he saw us struggling to eat our duck rolls with a spoon, which should have been there in the first place.

Also, debatable is the restaurant’s policy of not offering doggy bags. Hakkasan’s London branch follows this rule, as do most high-end restaurants in Europe. And in India, where it’s standard practice, we’re unsure how it’ll go down with patrons like us, who left behind more than half the dish.

What: Hakkasan
Where: Krystal, 206, Waterfield Road, Bandra (W)
Call: 2644 4444
What’s on the menu: Chinese, Thai dishes
Drinking: Yes
Smoking: No

What we like
1.Menu pairs desserts with appropriate wines
2.The ambience

What we don’t like
1.Food doesn’t match expectations
2.No doggy bags

Rating: ***