We ate it in Brixton, but it didn’t come from Brixton. Hakkasan is a Cantonese restaurant in Bruton Street, Mayfair – we know it isn’t open, so we couldn’t squeeze it into our five minute bus ride section. But it was a Christmas present and we think that every now and again we need a bit of a boost with a high class meal – this was it for the month. The website talks about the Michelin star and that it has “…dishes inspired by ancient recipes”. It has a fantastic menu and a fantastic way to begin the Year of the Ox
Our set menu for two included starters of Classic steamed dim sum and Crispy pork salad, main dishes of Stir-fry black pepper rib eye beef with Merlot, Grilled Chilean sea bass in honey, Black truffle roasted duck, stir fried pak choi and Steamed jasmine rice. This is a lot of food for one evening so we left the duck for the next day.
I think I will run out of hyperbole in describing the food – the dim sum was pretty and incredible, the pork – just as it is described crispy and the best (I am not prone to over-promising) the best I have ever had). the beef was peppery, the fish just cooked (they clearly solved the scientific equation for cooking and steaming on the Deliveroo journey), while the next day’s duck was easily eaten and came with homemade rice and vegetables.
No more words – just pictures.
We were delighted to receive a promissory note for this posh dinner as Christmas present from a friend. So we don’t know the cost, but we would like to thank him again for such a fabulous gift.
Another week of lockdown 3.0 and we were still on the lookout for a new experience. Also the end of Italian week. We ended up with pizza! This place has a good score on Deliveroo and we hadn’t tried it for a while. We reviewed it some time ago (see here). The menu is certainly a little different to the run of the mill. As well as the margherita, napoli, marinara and funghi, they also had pistacchio, caramellata and salsiccia and porcini.
We chose a the salsiccia (tomato sauce, mozzarella fior di latte, Italian sausage, porcini mushrooms, grana padano, basil) and the pistacchio (mozzarella fior di latte, crema di pistacchio, mortadella, crushed pistachios, basil) – look carefully if you are vegetarian – the little symbols have a key at the bottom of the menu.
The pistacchio one was definitely nutty and the basil was a great smell and taste. I am not fond of mortadella, but it was good on the reheated portion the next day.
The salsiccia version was lovely – hot occasionally with a bite of of the Italian sausage and the rounded taste of the mushrooms.
You can see that they are not so particular about having them perfectly round, but I suppose it gives them more of a artisan look. Anyway, we enjoyed them both, but mostly on the following day. The reason was they were a little burnt on one side and we ate that one on the first day leaving the softer, less carbonised pieces to the next day. We know a pizza oven can be a little unpredictable but …. check the underside before tucking in.
The bill, without any drinks and before adding a tip, came to £29.71, good value when you have leftovers.
We were lost for a new kind of takeaway having exhausted the more usual ones recently – Indian, Chinese, Japanese and definitely all the Italian ones. So we rang a friend who lives in Kennington – so thanks Richard for the recommendation of something new – Korean. We know there is one in Brixton but the menu is limited and we visited not that long ago. We have never eaten at this new one, but they do have a long menu and are clearly very popular, especially on a Saturday night.
There are “appetisers like tempura, gyoza, Kokkoke (mashed potato with chopped vegetables fried and served with a tangy sauce – now wish I had ordered that one), different Kimchis and many, many more. More substantial offerings come in the form of Bibimbap with different accompaniments (beef, chicken, tofu etc), Noodles – soba, udon etc – with delicious descriptions, stir-fried rice, Donburi and then you get to the Korean Barbecue, curry, Teriyaki …… and now I am bored. The problem is the overwhelming choice and the number of changes made to the order. In the end, as usual, we ordered too much.
Our meal consisted of Gim (Crispy dried seaweed squares coated in sesame oil & salt), Kimchi Jeon (Kimchi pancake served with soy dip), Nasu Dengaku (aubergine topped with sweet and savoury miso), Gul Twigim (Deep fried oysters served with Japanese brown sauce) , Yang Yum Chicken, (Medium size Korean crispy fried chicken in sticky gochichang sauce), Prawn Bokkumbap (spicy stir fried rice with king prawns) … too much of course for two people. If it hadn’t been for the helpful friend’s suggestions we would have ordered more.
Despite having to travel all the way to Brixton, the food arrived hot enough to eat, although, as we ate in waves, we ended up putting the rice in the microwave. It was all really interesting – even the fried oysters which were covered in well-seasoned crumbs and batter (and I am not that much of a fan of fried oysters).
We loved the kimchi pancake and will certainly try a version at home – the added crunch made you feel like you might be a vegan some time. Although for kimchi it was pretty mild. The aubergine (sorry no photograph) is what I would eat every day – sweet and sticky and a bit slimy, but in a good way, and not too much so that you would need to chew.
The rice kept giving little surprises like the odd tasty spice and sometimes a hot burst of chili. Prawns can get a little overcooked in this sort of dish, but you have to go with the flow. If they were under-cooked when they left the restaurant they would be steamed by the time they reach us – so will remember that next time.
The Korean fried chicken was covered – as they said – in sticky sauce and fingers are required and a lot of kitchen paper and races to wash your hands.
Then we were left with the Gim – it is the sort of packet seaweed that we buy from the Chinese shop in Electric Avenue, or from Tesco for that matter. It was good to have that salty boost in between courses and went really well with the drink we ordered.
Last on the list was alcohol and they have a large variety (beer, sake, soju, Korean wine etc). You need ID to buy it, but I expect the sight of greying hair appeased the delivery guy. The one we ordered was 300ml of Nigori Creme De Sake (descibed as aromas of melon, marshmallow and fresh white cream with a smooth wholesome texture and noted of vanilla ice cream). It was really a sort of Sake flavoured Baileys – there is still some in the fridge.
We did order too much, so had rice and chicken left over for another day. The bill came to £57.20 including a service charge but the sake was £14.50 of that bill. We will order again – in fact we may have another go at ordering this coming week which is being devoted to Korean food. You have to have something to aim for in Lockdown 3.0.