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Friday 22 February 2019

Hakkasan's CNY Year of the Pig Menu - Reviewed

Name: Hakkasan Hanway

Where:  Hakkasan, 8 Hanway Place, London W1T 1HD, https://hakkasan.com/locations/hakkasan-hanway-place/

Cost: The Year of the Pig Chinese New Year menu is priced at £88 per person. 

About: To celebrate the Year of the Pig, Hakkasan Hanway Place is offering a Chinese New Year set banquet, available only until Sunday 24th February. 

What We Ate: The menu kicked off with a salad of Peking duck with crispy bean curd and mango - this had perfectly crisp duck skin, candied orange peel, mixed greens, shredded chilli strands and dragon fruit.  Fresh, with great acidity, and wonderfully sweet and fatty duck morsels, this was a great start to the meal.

A dim sum duo followed - a bravura display of culinary skill, with seafood jian dui coated in white sesame seeds, and a fab shacha chicken puff - an ingenious, feather-light pastry case which opens up in segments like a savoury chocolate orange, to reveal a core of chicken with a savoury Fujian shacha sauce made from soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chillies, brill and dried shrimp.

The superior soup with Chilean seabass, goji berries and rings of bamboo pith had a well flavoured broth perfumed with chrysanthemum petals and ginko nut, and dainty cubes of seabass and yam.

Wok-fried lobster with spinach, lily bulb and lotus seeds was fresh, succulent and generous.

The Rhug Estate lamb had tender nuggets of fillet, served with shiitake mushrooms and rice cakes, in a spicy sauce fragrant with ginger, spring onion and chilli peppers.

Crispy suckling pig, with skin as crisp as caramel, was served atop sticky glutinous brown rice with a delectable pomegranate foam.

The side dish of stir-fried pak choi with meaty eryngii (king mushroom) and the rare but revered pioppini (aka the highly prized matsutake mushroom) was nothing short of outstanding.

Dessert was a "wealth pot", signifying favourable financial auguries for the New Year.  The pot was of dark chocolate, filled with mandarin granita and a crunchy hazelnut and chocolate ice cream.

The patisserie at Hakkasan is justly renowned, and the Fortune Macaron did not disappoint - with a crisp crust and a light, slightly chewy interior and a floral cream centre, this was an understated gem to bring the meal to a fitting end.

What We Drank: We started with a Liao Liao cocktail - a refreshing blend of Ketel One vodka, with rosella, oloroso sherry, lemon, kumquat and plum bitters.

With our meal, we shared a bottle of Albariño Abadia De San Campio, Terras Gauda, 2017 (£47). From Rias Baixas, this has pineapple and tropical fruit flavours, refreshing citrus acidity and a long finish, expertly recommended by Deputy Head Sommelier, Asturian-born Noelia Calleja.

Likes: Highlights for me were the ingenious shacha chicken puff, the lobster, the Rhug Estate lamb fillet, and the magnificent matsutake and eryngii mushroom dish. 

Dislikes: None
Verdict: If you have not yet celebrated the 2019 Chinese New Year of the Pig, hurry along to Hakkasan Hanway Place for this CNY banquet, which ends on 24th February 2019.  For me, its their best CNY menu yet. Very highly recommended!

Wednesday 20 February 2019

The 2019 Year of the Pig CNY Menu at Yautcha City

Name: Yauatcha City

Where: 1 Broadgate Circus, London EC2M 2QS, http://www.yauatcha.com/city/

Cost: The CNY menu is priced at £60 per person. 

About: Michelin-starred Yauatcha is one of my favourite Chinese restaurants in London, with the first branch in Soho, and this glamorous spot in the City opened in 2015. Building on the Chinese dim sum teahouse concept, Yauatcha City has two bars, two outside terraces and a large main dining area, and on the weekday evening we were there was as usual packed with an after-work crowd.

The Chinese kitchen is led by Chef Tong Chee Hwee, and offers authentic Cantonese dishes with a modern influence, while the drinks menu has a staggering 38 types of tea plus cocktails inspired by Chinese ingredients and a large wine and Champagne list.

I am a regular visitor to Yauatcha City, and was keen to try their Year of the Pig CNY menu, available only until 23rd February 2019. 

What We Ate: The Dim Sum course had steamed, fried and baked items, including my all-time favourite buttery venison puffs. Highlights though were the steamed selection, including the spicy scallop, wild mushroom dumplings, and the prawn and chicken siu mai - delicately made, with paper thin skins and bursting with freshness and flavour.

Fried dim sum items included crispy monkfish cheeks with enoki mushroom and salsify (delectably meaty morsels), with a sweet and spicy sauce, and homemade prawn tofu with seaweed and water chestnut.

The main event was a medley of dishes - steamed freshwater prawn with chilli, ginger and garlic was punchy and flavoursome.

Equally delicious was the Peking-style sliced pork belly, served with golden mantou bread.

Best of all was the Szechuan three style mushroom - enoki, shimeji and wood ear fungus with green beans and mouth-numbing Szechuanese peppercorns.

The sticky brown rice with Chinese sausage was a good foil for the main course dishes - substantial and gutsy, the rice tasted as though it had been fried in lard, but the flavour came primarily from the Chinese sausages it had been flavoured with.

For dessert, the Mandarin and matcha Choux with sesame, mandarin compote, orange Chantilly segments and white chocolate discs was light and well presented.

What We Drank: we started with the suggested cocktail for the CNY menu - Nagami Fortune (£13), made with gin, kumquat, raspberry and lime, this was strong, intensely flavoured with the blend of citrus and berry fruits, and very refreshing.

We shared a bottle of Pinot Blanc, Granite de la Vallée, from Cave de Turckheim, Alsace (£37). This was light and delicate, with subtle apricot flavours and refreshing acidity.

Likes: surprisingly for hardcore meat eaters like ourselves, we thoroughly enjoyed the vegetable dish of beans and mushrooms as well as the steamed pescatarian dim sum selection.

Dislikes: None.

Verdict: a magnificent CNY menu at Yauatcha City for the Year of the Pig, but hurry because the menu ends on Saturday 23 February 2019.

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