This post is about my first Hakkasan experience in London which was in 2010. We have arrived an hour before our reservation in order to taste the much anticipated cocktails. I have ordered Hakkatini and quite probably it was one of the best cocktails I have ever tasted. My girlfriend ordered Strawberry and Basil Martini and she was happy with that as well. But after she had a sip from my drink and she also agreed Hakkatini was the better one.
Then, we were seated to our table. The design here is unique and impressive as it is commented almost in any source I have read about Hakkasan. The service was flawless. Although I read some mixed reviews about the service, the lady who served us was very kind and helpful. She guided us through our selection of Sake informatively, without suggesting only expensive ones for instance.
The food was spectacular. The portions are really bigger when compared to similar restaurants and this is a real positive factor in terms of value. The only thing is, not knowing this beforehand we ordered too much.
From the appetizers Crispy Duck Roll and Sesame Prawn Toast were among my favourites. The best of the meal however was the Stir Fry Black Pepper Rib Eye with Merlot. We also ordered Singapore Roast Chicken but we were really full the moment it came.
In total I would rate my Hakkasan visit as a near perfect experience. The restaurant is working efficiently in order to manage the high demand. Pre stated dining time slots, a well thought operational efficiency are all examples of this. There is a minor side effect of this strategy however. As a customer, when you notice this fact, you get a strange feeling as if you are an anonymous person to be replaced by another one in the upcoming say 1:32 hour. I understand the notion but I can not help but feel quite strange about this factory like operational efficency. Neverthless this is how it works in todays high end restaurant landscape.
A note about the Hakkasan`s Istanbul experience which is closed now:
Comparing the experience with the one in Istanbul, what was lacking in Istanbul was this liveliness. The décor was also very modern and chic in Istanbul. However it was so isolated. The ambiance needs to trigger the feel of socializing and the ambiance achieves this in London. The impression I got from Istanbul however was an exquisite feel, which is nice, very nice for a regular fine dining restaurant though. But for an innovative restaurant like Hakkasan, there needs to be something else.