HKK – London

A Chinese prayer answered in Worship Street (London)

The City of London’s Worship Street is unusually quiet on a Saturday lunchtime. But we weren’t here to rub shoulders with stock traders but to sample HKK, the latest incarnation of the Hakkasan Group. It was awarded a Michelin star in September 2013 and claims to offer a menu which “follows Chinese banqueting tradition, representing the epitome of Chinese culinary experience.”

Once we had found it – there is no obvious sign outside – the first impression was peacefulness and refinement, in striking contrast to the City scenery outside. Indeed, the ambience was very sophisticated with the main dining room mixing taste with cosiness.

The tables are all sited around a main serving area where Head Chef HKK, Tong Chee Hwee, and his team give food final touches before they are served. I loved how chef and waiter carved and plated the magnificent duck we ordered! It was a treat to observe then at work!

As a starter we wanted to try their famous dumplings so we chose the fried golden king crab puffs and chicken truffle dumplings, both excellent. We then each ordered the four course set lunch menu, a bargain at £29 – with a choice of seafood (me) and meat (my partner).
Both set menus were perfectly balanced and visually stunning. The meat menu consisted of crispy duck salad, truffle poulet de Bresse soup, seared king soy wagyu beef with egg fried rice and peanut parfait with lime milk sorbet.

The seafood menu was minced lobster in home-made black bean sauce, braised sea bass soup with pumpkin, halibut in Italian white truffle sauce with egg fried rice (although I swapped that for the beef dish), and, to finish, jasmine panna cotta with rhubarb sorbet. There is also a vegetarian menu – and HKK will cook up a vegan meal as well.

Everything was mouth-wateringly yummy but delicate – especially as I am not normally a fan of
Chinese cuisine. But here the menu was very creative in both composition and presentation and had the right balance of European/Asian flavours (especially the amazing deserts!).

The teapots are a pricey £8 – but the Jasmine tea was very good and the large pot meant that there was plenty for both of us and the tea stayed hot for the whole lunch. Plus it was served in beautiful little teacups. Service was effective, precise and quiet, without being snobbish.

VERDICT: A fantastic place for a posh meal without an awkward atmosphere! The perfect place to switch off and embrace your inner Zen master. I can’t wait to return.

HKK 88 Worship Street, London EC2A 2BE +44 (0)20 3535 1888

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