-By Rashmi Uday Singh
He ate here, the night before, with Deepika Padukone, who loves the brand new Hakkasan. As does Katrina Kaif who is already a regular here. And both were first talent-spotted by acelensman Atul Kasbekar, who makes it a ritual to eat in the London Hakkasan whenever he is there. Lunching with us, today, is yet another protege of his, Kingfisher calendar covergirl and budding actress Anjali Lavania at Hakkasan - Japanese food and pranic healing fan. Passionate about perfection and food, Atul waited tables at restaurants in California while studying photography in the prestigious Brooks institute.
I admit upfront, I've been a fan of the culinary trailblazing founder Alan Yau ever since I met him and ate in all his London-based restaurants (both the Hakkasans, Sake no hana, Yauatcha, the VFM Wagamama and Cha cha Moon). Does the fact that he has sold Hakkasan to the King of Abu Dhabi who (with Kishor Bajaj) has opened in Mumbai change anything? I eat here thrice to find out.
FROM LONDON TO BANDRA
It's obviously just a short step away. Everything is identical (almost). Awkward location (in the basement in London, on the second floor in Mumbai). Both have an uber cool crowd in a sultry oriental space, manned by stylish waitresses. Both, are more of a night out, with pulsating music rather than a quiet fine dine. Profusion of intricately carved wooden screens, dim, mood lighting, rich wood-paneled furniture and rippling light on the walls complete the decor.
The food? My favourites original Hakkasan classics sparkle with the yin yang balance of textures and flavours. Showmanship is in the DNA of the dishes. Be it the sweet heat of the unerringly roasted silver cod with champagne and honey (Rs 2850) or the grilled Sha cha silver cod in a barbecue sauce (Rs 2850) or the Chillean sea bass. Pipa duck, pork belly too, but for me it's the deeply flavourful tenderloin, (Rs 1,950) moist with dark soya sauce, crispy duck salad vibrant with pomelo and pine nuts (Rs 1,650), which works the magic. Plump with flavour dimsum (especially the scallop and the seabass) too. The hugely popular deepfried soft shell crab with its slivers of almonds and curry pata is reminiscent of aamchi 'chivdaâ€.The importing of the chefs, the recipes and the ingredients pretty much ensures that London has come to Bandra.
BANDRA MUCH BETTER
In many ways, I prefer aapun ka Bandre version â€¦neither the bar area nor the dining area is as pitch dark nor the seating as uncomfily low as that in London. Enter the fragrant lift (which has music) and you are whisked into a more refined version of London. They've specially created 25 per cent of the menu for vegetarians here. Lofty peaks are reached with the edamame dumplings cloaked in the epircurean equivalent of mink, velvety flavourful with truffle essence. Colours and textures of stir fried sugar snaps and cloud ear mushrooms seduce as do the tofu dishes and the crunchy yet tender fillings of crystal dumpings. Dark chocolate mousse with masala chai granite and refreshing Mandarin sorbets complete the experience.
BANDRA COULD DO BETTER
While some of the dimsum are lacklustre, the 'crispy lotus dumplingâ€ is a deepfried 'bhajia" of strips of wanton skins in a pool of tomato chilli sauce. It bends over backwards to get popular vote and topples into Chindian territory. 'Hand pulled noodles with enokiâ€ comes sans enoki. Plenty of unavailable dishes...gailan, aubergine and okra, mock chicken, jasmine creme brulee to name a few. Pricing? I ate here twice (Rs 9,000 +13,000 for two of us and no alcohol) and once with Atul and Anjali ( paid Rs 11,000, two cocktails included). The pricing of the drinks and the seafood could definitely do with some paring down.
Kudos to the elevated Chinese food, in some dishes crunchiness frames succulence in others creaminess is thrust into relief. Hakkasan is all about a sexily glamourous nonstop carnival of sensations and superb cocktails, but it also makes you pay dearly for the adventure, showing as little inhibition with prices as it does with everything -except portions. But it still has us coming back for more.
Review posted more than 6 month ago
I so wanted to have mock chicken at this restaurant, but it wasn't available. I had to satisfy with the platter of dimsums, since the food is a bit of pricey here. I just wish I could get it to taste next time. The food is fine.
Review posted more than 6 month ago
I have always loved trying out new things and places and so tried out this one with my boy friend. Going in there, I was very happy with their service and menu. Trying their roasted fish and noodles, I was much more than satisfied. Great experience! Loved it1
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