Restaurants & Bars: Restaurant Reviews


Hakkasan does Chinese banqueting


Opening hours

Mon-Sat: 12-2.30pm and 6-9.45pm
Sun: Closed


8 Worship St, London EC2A 2BE

More info

In a Sentence

15 courses, 3 hours and a brilliant edit of Cantonese cuisine.


Next to Chrysan in Broadgate West on Worship Street (also part of the Hakkasan contingent). A stone’s throw from The City, with a decidedly corporate feel.


It was quiet when we were there (it was a Tuesday) and very calm, which is just what you need when mentally preparing for a 15-course showdown. It feels almost theatrical with a central table – where meat is carved and the “tea ceremony” is carried out – and a near-ceremonial placing of dishes. It’s small and intimate, with only 48 seats, and refined, with not a chopstick or member of staff out of place.


The 15-course menu (the only variation is a veggie option) is based on the traditional Chinese banqueting tradition but given modern flair by Chef Tong Chee Hwee. It consists of two apéritifs, two starters, three mains, a palate cleanser/tea break, four second courses, two desserts and petit fours.

The execution of flavours, textures and presentation is impeccable and just as it should be in top-tier cooking. Yet what is striking about HKK is the fact that, although it has the moniker of haute cuisine, the flavours are familiar and accessible. The cherry wood-roasted Peking duck (a favourite) balances the familiar and the haute – dip the crispy skin in sugar and hoisin before eating the chili-laced salad and the duck pancake – as does the classic dim sum trilogy, which comes with paint-on soy sauce. It’s the (literal) tiny touches that add a cutting edge to the flavours: the sweet goji berries in the poulet and dried scallop soup; the tiny, tart pepper on the drunken chicken starter; the deep fried jasmine tea decorating the beef; and the crunchy lily bulb in the refreshing salad.

It goes up a gear in the second courses: think monkfish on risotto-like, sake-drenched rice, pumpkin tofu, Jasmine tea-smoked wagyu beef (another highlight) and steamed razor clam with glutinous rice. The first of the desserts, passionfruit and lychee tapioca, is a welcome, zingy break (though directly followed by a pineapple fritter, salted lime jelly and coconut ice cream), while the petit fours bring you back full circle with a ginger macaroon, 5-spice cake, Szechuan chili chocolate and green tea mochi. Wine pairings or fruit juices can be added to the tasting menu, though we went for cocktails and a red wine pairing with the wagyu beef (the sommelier knows his stuff). In short, this is exciting eating. You’re not given the menu until the end, so we suggest you don’t do your research prior to going, as it heightens the experience.


Pared back, polished and angular. We really liked the cut-out, geometric-style chairs (and uniforms). The thematic rectangles that appear throughout the room – from the glass window to the duck oven and even the hollow window that frames the mixologist at the bar – are softened by the central, glowing chandelier of bone china peaches. We were also big fans of the tableware: minimalist bowls, traditional tea cups and avant-garde plates.


Exciting Chinese cuisine is finally back on the radar, with recent openings like Opium and Bo London setting the bar for Cantonese with a twist. HKK is definitely the leader of the pack.

Originally published on
19th December 2012


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