Hakkasan Mayfair is the younger sister of the original Hakkasan in Hanway Place, which single-handedly revolutionised the perception of Chinese cuisine in London. Hakkasan Mayfair is a very large restaurant spread over two floors, with both a la carte and tasting menus that range widely in scope and price, from £39 right up to £208 per person, with various options in between at £78, £80, £118 and £148 per person. There is also a well-chosen but generally expensive wine list with choices such as Corpinnat Gramona La Cuvee 2018 at £81 for a bottle that costs £21 in the high street, or Trimbach Cuvee Frederich Emile 2013 at £150 compared to its retail price of £62, or even exotica such as Didier Dagenau Asteroide 2014 at £1,516, which is actually below its current retail price of £1,800.
Hot and sour soup was good, more delicate than the typical Chinatown versions of this stalwart dish. There was the usual combination of tofu and shiitake mushrooms and chicken stock with vinegar and chillies, this version also having pomelo for sharpness. The gloopier versions of this have a lot of corn starch but this did not seem to, and the soup was smoother than most. On the other hand, I think the stock could have had more intense flavour (14/20).
A basket of dim sum included classic har gau steamed prawn dumplings, steamed wild mushroom dumpling, a dumping of minced chicken with scallop and topiko and one of sea bass with peppercorn. The dim sum at Hakkasan is very reliable, the dumplings thin and delicate, the fillings of a higher level than most dim sum in London (15/20).
Large freshwater prawns were fried until crisp and served with red chillies, cashew nuts and shreds of spring onion. The prawns had excellent flavour and were carefully cooked, and even the spring onion was better than most (15/20). Spicy prawns were also precisely cooked, having a sauce that included almonds, and were actually not especially spicy to my taste (15/20). Egg fried rice was excellent, the grains distinct and having just the right texture, while stir-fried bak choi with garlic was superb, and was probably the best dish. It takes skill to take something this simple and make it taste this good (16/20). Hakka noodles (thin rice noodles) were fried with shimeji mushrooms and beansprouts and were very pleasant in terms of texture, though they seemed just a touch bland to me (14/20).
Service was very good and wine topping up was faultless despite the crowded dining room and tables being tuned all around us. The bill came to £210 per person, with a bottle of good champagne between us. If you shared a more modest bottle of wine and ordered carefully then a typical cost per person might be around £100 or so. Hakkasan is not at the cutting edge of cuisine these days but nor is it trying to be. It delivers extremely consistent and enjoyable Chinese food at scale, all with surprisingly slick service and in an environment that still feels fashionable, despite just how long it has been going. The fact that it is always packed out despite the hefty price tag is a testament to how appealing this overall offering really is.