With mouth-watering cuisine, some of the world's finest alcohol and exceptional service, all under an incredibly stylish, convertible roof, you won't regret the long wait for a table at Hakkasan, Bandra's newest fine dining experience
Following his successes with Wagamama, the innovative noodle bar that familiarised Londoners with community- style- dining, and Busaba Eathai, the outstandingly stylish Thaifood haven, a decade ago, Alan Yau introduced Londoners to Hakkasan, a restaurant that would completely redefine the world's expectations of Chinese cuisine. The Japanese honorific " San" was added to Yau's ancestral, " Hakka" lineage to pay homage to his roots, but it's the unmatched cuisine here that truly evidences the culinary- master's deep- seated reverence not just for his cultural background but for cooking which he once claimed he felt as deeply about as Bruce Lee did about martial arts.
Roasted Mango Duck. Pics/Prathik Panchamia
Now just around the corner from Bandra's Moti Mahal, Hakkasan with its spectacular trademark interiors, is guaranteed to transport you out of this city. Panels flushed with blue light and traditional Chinese motifs crafted in dark wood and imbued with a modern, Western aesthetic dominate the space. In the dining area, water ripples projected on an extraordinarily high ceiling create a fantastic, almost hypnotic effect. The ceiling opens up like a convertible car -- so come winter and the space will sport a different vibe.
Piped- in Lounge music grows louder and lights get dimmer as the evening progresses, so reserve a semi- private niche behind a trellised screen in the Ling Ling Lounge -- separated from the dining area by a narrow corridor -- and you can disappear for a while. For a private party, 12 to 16 people can be accommodated in the exclusive area above the visible kitchen. A peep through the central holes of the wooden representations of Feng Shui prosperity coins ( symbolic of a union of heaven and earth) that feature on its balustrade reveals a breathtaking view of the incandescent ocean that floats over the dining hall.
The cellar boasts of 125 wine labels, and, group COO, Chantalle Cropp, tells us, " Wines have specifically been selected by Hakkasan's London Sommelier to complement all the flavours on the menu." With two Sommeliers and a Sommeliers' assistant to guide your choice, a meal here is clearly intended to be a complete experience.
While a spokesperson for the restaurant did admit that the range of sakes is very limited here, as compared to the 35 varieties of superior sake available at their London branches, the Hakka Cocktail ( Rs 650, a blend of fine sake, Grey Goose vodka, American coconut cream, freshly- squeezed passion- fruit juice and Lychee juice) we sampled demonstrated the bartender's expertise. The whisky showcase boasted some of the world's finest brands, including Japanese Hibiki, which won the World's Best Blended Whisky Award 2011, and a bottle of Glenfiddich 40 ( from a limited edition of just 600 bottles).
An entire line of vegetarian dishes that includes Wild mushrooms and Vegetables Wrap ( Rs 550,) Edamame Truffle Dumplings ( Rs 550) and Crispy Aubergine and Okra ( Rs 350) has been introduced especially for the Indian market. Non- vegetarians must try the Chilean Sea Bass ( Rs 2,950) and the Beef Tenderloin ( Rs 1,950) that melts in the mouth. Equally delightful is Hakkasan's signature Roasted Mango Duck ( Rs 1,250), an appetizer which in this season combines the gorgeous flavours of the local Alphonso mango with the natural aroma of the imported duck. Crispy Duck Rolls ( Rs 450) encased in a fine, flaky pastry and served with a sweet plum sauce is another appetizer you simply can't go wrong with.
And sufficiently sticky is the wonderfully fragrant Egg Fried Rice that could inspire poetry. Chocolate Mousse with Masala Chai Granita ( Rs 400) made for the perfect end to our perfect meal as the spicy, sorbet added the right kick to the beautifully smooth, velvety mousse.
At: Krystal, Waterfield Road, Bandra ( W);
Call: 26444444 / 26444445;
Opens: for lunch from July 2; reservations are a must.