With the crème-de-al-crème of society wining and dining at Hakkasan habitually, I always wondered when the rest of us would get to experience a meal at Hakkasan Mumbai. I fancied this thought given that a minimum billing of Rs.4000-Rs.5000 for a meal for two was in store. However, with the recent launch of their new set lunch menu, Hakkasan is experimenting with offering luxury lunches at a modest price and in the process catering to a larger target audience.
Although initially the lunch menu was set to run till June 30; the overwhelming response and swarming lunch reservations compelled the restaurant to extend their offer. The carte du jour is quite impressive, I’d say! With 2 varieties of dim sums, 2 entrees and a dessert, Rs.1200 + tax for a luncheon at Hakkasan definitely caught my fancy.
Designers Gilles & Boissier have dressed to impress. Hakkasan’s stylish interiors when paired with the dark stained English oak screens and backlit blue glass create an exciting aura. So to get there you have to go past the elegant walkway and up a blue-and-black elevator. The glimpse of the restaurant sets the tone for what to expect in the restaurant — plush and classy, quiet luxury, with a strong connection to the avant-garde furnishings and beautiful movables. The chic Ling Ling bar is positioned on one end of the restaurant, with what looked like a notable selection of premium liquor. However, I do wish the restaurant had maintained an all-adult audience as infants may hinder an otherwise peaceful meal.
When you’re seeking an authentic Oriental food experience in Mumbai, Hakkasan’s set lunch menu can easily be questioned. Going by our recent meal there, Hakkasan seems to specialise in food, infused with acceptable flavours but flawed with lousy presentation.
We started our meal with an assortment of non-vegetarian and vegetarian dim-sums. While the conventional steamed buns were palatable and beautifully infused with tangy vegetables and char siewchicken, the pinnacle of our meal were the black fungus dumplings and the vegetable chive dumplings. Beautifully filled with diced mushrooms, the black fungus dumplings were oozing with zest and zing. Topped with succulent pomegranate and filled with minced vegetables, the vegetable chive dumplings too, were quite delightful and luscious in flavour.
Unfortunately from then on, aside from maybe 1-2 dishes, the character and quality of dishes plummeted.The corn and prawn dumplings and chicken and taro dumplings were largely insipid and bland.I’m surprised that they did not serve their famous edamame dumplings; although they did mention that the elements of their menu do change every month.
I was genuinely dismayed when served the vegetable fried rice. The dish looked like one right out of a low-priced multi-cuisine restaurant. The chicken and asparagus fried rice too, was mediocre and almost seemed like it lacked any effort at all from the chef. Both dishes lacked density, pungency and above all – the presentation was below par. Although the savouriness of the Sanpei Chicken Claypot was undistinguished, the dish yet appealed to us as the chicken was tender. The Tofu & Aubergine Claypot and Stir Fried French Beans were cold and limp. Thank goodness for the stir fry Indian Salmon in Black Bean Sauce and the Spicy Ho fun Noodles – or we would have gone home quite unsatisfied. Seeing Indian salmon on the menu got me a little bit surprised but it was very well-cooked and soaked in Indian spices and herbs and they had got the acidity of the dish just right. The Spicy Ho fun Noodles was adequately above average and inculcated with distinct oriental punches and flavours.
Descending from the culinary chain that represents Yautcha, I had soaring expectations from the last course. While the single scoops of salted caramel and bitter coffee ice-cream were unique in flavour and rich in texture, the Orange Crème Brule raced to the other side of the spectrum. The texture of the French favourite was imperfect and the portion was rather miniscule.
Dishing out Rs.1200 (plus tax) for a bunch of steamed buns, mushrooms dumplings and two scoops of ice-cream may not be perfectly practical, given how its Michelin starred sibling in London has always exceeded expectations. I’d still be inclined towards making a reservation and ordering ala-carte and prefer to stay away from the lunch menu.
Krystal, Waterfield Road
Mumbai – 400050