IN THIS PAGE WE PRESENT EXCEPTIONAL FOOD EXPERIENCES OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA THAT THE GUILTY STOMACH HAS HAD & RATES
Hakkasan……for smart oriental cuisine in Mayfair, London
Hakkasan which started in Tottenham Court Road in London some 9 years ago has now made an appearance in Mayfair, adding to its Miami, New York and Abu Dhabi locations. Mumbai, Dubai and perhaps Sydney is on the cards. Started by the owner of Wagamama chain, and now sold on, Hakkasan reminds me of the decade long head start London has had in global cuisine.
Dark teak oriental carved screens divide the dining space into interesting ‘rooms’ each illuminated with soft moody lighting. Food is accomplished and service is skilled. The menu is extensive with a wide range of poultry, fish, vegetarian and meat dishes to choose from. The fragrant crispy duck salad with micro herbs, baby cress and pomelo (a signature dish) was sensational and so was the perfectly gai lan (or chinese brocolli) sauteed with dried fish. The mango dessert was memorable and exquisite to look at. The very charming Yvonne Le, the manager, keeps the place ticking efficiently and no one wanting for anything.
The Mayfair branch opened about 4 months ago has a series of sensational bars – upstairs as well as downstairs.
17 Bruton Street, London W1
Zuma and Roka rock….in London and Hong Kong
There are now 3 in this group Zuma in Knightsbridge and Roka in Pacific Place in HK and more recently a Roka has opened in Canary Wharf London, frequented by the bankers in the area.
Roka is a modern japanese style grill serving some great small plates (especially great if you are dining alone). The smartly attired chefs work with great speed and skill behind the long open kitchen counters, giving the place an elegantly casual feel.
The modern japanese decor includes metal cutwork walls, granite benches and warm wood finishes. The Canary Wharf Roka sports an eye catching bank of sozu jars (a style of Japanese vodka coloured with a variety of flavours that figures in the extensive cocktail menu).
Of course there is the usual sushi and shashimi and nigri but it is the grilled food that is unique here.
My favourites are the tuna tataki with apple mustard dressing, or the kingfish tataki with white asparagus and yuzu dressing, the chargrilled lamb cutlets, and the beef is exquisite. Among a number of delicate salads is the crab salad which is served with a wonderful mustard dressing on fresh spinach leaves. The grilled broccoli and the grilled asparagus are done to perfection. I did find the deep fried cuttlefish with lime and chilli not as light as it could be.
The Knightsbridge Zuma has a great large granite island bar (tends to attract a crowd that likes to be seen) with interesting sectioned parts of this large contemporary space given (almost) a night club feel with wonderfully soft sultry lighting.
Few dinner venues can provide both a casual as well as formal feel – this one does………you can turn up casually or dress for the night and still fit in nicely