Overall rating: 4 stars
Location: Liverpool Street
Last week I was kindly invited to a blogger dinner at HKK by Square Meal. The Michelin starred restaurant is unusual in the fact that there is no ‘a la carte’ option – diners simply have a choice of 8 or 15 courses.
Typical of the Hakkasan Group, HKK oozes elegance and luxury. We were seated in a private dining room with full view of the chef’s kitchen and even the duck oven! (Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee’s specialty)
To begin, we were served a foie gras croquette.
This was followed by a Duke of Berkshire pork belly mantou. It was typical of Tong’s cooking – a burst of flavours, including some unexpected truffle.
Next was the Chrysanthemum seafood soup – with the flowers arriving on the spoon itself, ready to be dipped into the soup. The broth was light and fragrant.
My favourite part of the experience was the presentation of each course – the dim sum basket was even innovatively served with a paintbrush to brush your dumplings with soy sauce!
Next up was HKK’s signature roasted cherry wood Peking duck – which we had eagerly seen roasting in the duck oven next to our table throughout the meal!
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to view the carving of the duck with a huge meat cleaver, which was almost an art in itself, with the chef ensuring that each plate had a piece of skin, leg and breast.
The duck was served with hoisin sauce, peppery salad, a spoonful of sugar and a pancake. We were instructed to eat the skin, sugar and hoisin sauce together, the breast on its own with sugar, and then the breast inside the pancake. The skin was crispy and rich and was complemented well with the salad.
My favourite dish has to be the Sea Bass – served with black truffle and balsamic vinegar, a combination of flavours that chef Tong has really made work.
The service was exceptional, the waiters were knowledgeable about the menu and happy to modify any of the courses to suit your tastes or dietary requirements, so don’t let the idea of a set menu put you off. Chef Tong has put together a unique blend of Cantonese flavours that, although is often exotic, really works. The meal is made even more enjoyable by the high quality of the ingredients, with the consistency of the buttery pastry in the dim sum basket, particularly paying testament to this.
The tasting menu at HKK is more than just a meal, it’s also an experience. It is certainly worth visiting on a special occasion, though I’d recommend coming with an empty stomach to enjoy the full 8 courses!
Square Meal: www.squaremeal.co.uk
88 Worship Street
London, EC2A 2BE
Phone: +44 (0)20 3535 1888
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