It was a day of absolute fun surrounded by certified foodies. I'm talking Ahlan Gourmet, Gulf News, Arabian Woman, a Professional Chef, an ex-TV broadcaster, just a plethora of amazing people who are far more experienced in the foodie arena than I am.
These are just some of the tantalizing dishes we feasted on. Hakkasan has so much more to offer on their menu and of course their venue is as exquisite as the food they serve. Nothing was short-changed.
The Kiwi and Lime drink I had at Ling Ling Lounge was refreshing to the bone! I thought I can easily re-create it because it looks pretty easy? How hard could it be, it's Kiwi and Lime. Let's just say, I'll wait for the inside scoop on the method used.
Their Tofu is home-made. It was awesome-licious! I have never in my entire life eaten a tofu as silky as Hakkasan's. I want to go back with my family just to show off this amazing melt-in-your-mouth tofu. Silky inside and nice crunch on the outside. Blown away.
Tofu, aubergine and shiitake mushroom claypot in chilli black bean sauce is one of the dishes that Chef Lee demonstrated. Silky tofu, meaty shiitake (which I lurve soooo much) and aubergine drenched in a fusion of flavours. The chili is not at all overpowering, it is such a beautiful dish where nothing is competing and everything is complementing. A simple dish that resembles a choir in perfect unison.
Another dish in the menu which Chef Lee demonstrated was Prawn Har Gau. What a combination of art and skill! Chef Lee showed us how skilled a Chef has to be, to be able to fold har gau dough. Six to seven folds in one dumpling means you are a decent dumpling maker. More than that means you are skilled. Hakkasan's Dumpling Chef? Superman. He made 13 folds in seconds!!! And don't get me started with the dough. The only time I realized it was a dough (and not a super white cloth) was when Chef Lee formed the casing for filling. No. I'm not even gonna try to re-create it. I'll leave it to the experts to feed me. The filling was combined just right. The prawn still chunky and fresh. This process made my jaw drop!
One bite, foodnomenal! We all have to ask how it was made (prolly smugly thinking we'll do this at home, I know I did!). Chef Lee explained and counted the ways it was cooked. Five ways. Huwat now? 5 WAYS?! A resounding no in my head. No way high way will I be spending probably a whole day slaving in the kitchen to make this dish. I'll book a table for 5 please, thank you very much!
If there's one dish that didn't shine amongst the spread, albeit a decent one, it's the Spicy prawn with lily bulb and almond (I think that's what it is, sorry it was lost in the commotion). Just didn't wow me the way the rest of the dishes did. I treat it as a teenager mingling with the veterans.
The last dish Chef Lee demonstrated was Stir-fry rib eye wagyu beef with black pepper sauce. He made it look so easy with all those wok-frying technique. While he was doing it, I was thinking, that'll be an alright dish, nothing special, it's just a stir fry beef. Ehrrmm Boy was I wrong?!
Beef were precisely cut, perfectly fried and the sauce lets the meat shine. If you watched (I will end you if you didn't!) Julie and Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon scene... that was me, secretly dying and resurrecting over and over again in every bite. In case you don't know what I mean, watch.
Just to let you in a little secret, he actually called his dumpling chef to do a demonstration of har gau. He felt we need to see har gau made the right way. Now that humbleness earns him more than a 5-star (where 5 is the highest).
His kitchen team has this really friendly camaraderie which I doubt is common. The psych in me was working over time, competing with the foodie in me. It was such an enjoyable atmosphere, I wanted to volunteer as a slave for a day or a fly on the wall just to see more of them well oiled friendly machines. They're not competitive at all! It's just really hard to put into words. I was in definite awe.
Entering Hakkasan's kitchen, I was transformed into this little 5-yr old who just entered Disneyland. What a dream to work in. Shiny worktops, mise en place, squeaky clean utensils, fire ablaze under the well used woks. It's just amazing.
Chef Lee's woks in particular made me think of how many dishes it made, how many patrons it bowled over, just a never ending fantastic stories weaving in my head. If only Woks could talk! I want the first interview please!
I don't know how old are those woks but it reminded me of one particular sauce pan I have. We don't scrub it to death because for some reason, the dishes we cooked over the years in that pan renders a wonderful flavour in succeeding ones we make. And no, I don't care if the inside looked identical to the bottom, I AM NOT REPLACING IT!
Arriving via Emirates Towers The Boulevard, I had to do a double take if I entered a restaurant because the hallway was so serene with its bricked wall and marble flooring. It almost confused me into thinking I'm approaching a spa. To top it off, the reception was adorned with lovely orchids. Yay! fash.
First stop was Ling Ling Lounge where apparently I have to order Hakka drink the next time I come around. While waiting for the rest of the group, I had the chance to have a chit chat with their GM, Mr Amit and get a little of history of the restaurant. He got me in "Michelin star" and "one of the 50 best restaurants in the world". I am definitely impressed and obviously felt very privileged to be invited to such a wonderful treat.
The tour of the restaurant showed off the Asian décor that practically completes the whole landscape which creates a dining experience, rather than just the usual meal.
If you use the Hakkasan Entrance which is the side closest to World Trade Center, you can valet your car and enjoy the garden path to the covered area of the restaurant. As you enter the garden, you hear the splash of water coming from the waterfall on your right and the shuffling of leaves which is everywhere. A brief moment that will make you forget you are in the middle of the busy Sheikh Zayed area.
Mind the path though, seems like some diners assume that the water next to the marble path is covered by glass. So mind your steps and please don't go swimming.
All areas are beautifully arranged to suit different types of privacy required by diners. The Garden certainly makes one feel as if you are just having a meal in your own garden with a dish that just so happen to be prepared by fantastic chefs. Also a perfect place to chill out with the night sky as your view.
Inside dining is equally elegant but with a bit more drama, the lighting, the intricate walls, even the ceiling fan, it's private and yet not claustrophobic. Their own 14-seat VIP rooms have see-through walls. Though the walls still speak for itself and impose on keeping the area private, it doesn't scream boxed in. A superb venue for office's private dinners/lunches or special meals with friends & family.
If you are not really dining in and don't feel like staying in the lounge, they also have a separate bar just right after the reception. Perfect for that brief drink or catching up with your buddies.
So before I bid you adios and let you tour Hakkasan via my shots below, I leave you with a short video of how Chef Lee demonstrated how to cook Stir fry beef in black bean sauce... the unedited one is in detail with lots of secrets revealed but will leave it for next time if I'll be permitted to publsih :) ta-ta!
*menu's available below too... have fun browsing!
Enquiries or reservation:
Telephone: +971 4 3848484
Ground Level, Jumeirah Emirates Towers
Sh. Zayed Road, Dubai
Lunch: 12:00 - 15:00
Dinner: 19:00 - 1:00
Bar stays open until 2:00
Cuisine: Modern Chinese
Dress Code: Smart Elegant
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