Some Old Favourites Reopen

Saturday, August 08th , 2020

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Hakkasan Mayfair is, to borrow from a Stella Artois advert, “reassuringly expensive”. The carefully lit dining rooms still look dark and brooding, yet have perfect pools of light on the tables. The staff are carefully trained and precise in their movements, and the menu is full of classic dishes, with no tricky gristly dishes like chicken's feet to frighten the squeamish . The har gau dumpling here has langoustine rather than prawn, and you don't see caviar on your dim sum in Gerrard Street, but you do here. What is impressive is the consistency of execution: even a humble dish like Singapore noodles is superbly made, with thin delicate noodles and subtle flavour. It is good to see it back.

Also back on form is The Ritz, with a superb menu unfolding before us in a dining room that has even more space between tables than before the lockdown. Classics like the langoustine in herb nage were as good as ever, with a new star dish in the form of a savoury custard with black truffles and Parmesan foam that had heavenly texture and flavour. The pastry section here is the best in London, with a caramel cage (pictured) the main attraction. The Ritz is still very much at the top of its game, and for me is the best restaurant in the capital. It is quite clearly better than, say, three star The Waterside Inn, which makes its solitary Michelin star an absurdity.