Hakkasan Mayfair opened in November 2010 the sister to the original Hakkasan in Hanway Place, which dates back to 2001. Hakkasan single-handedly transformed the public perception of Chinese food in London, far away from the bustling dim sum trolleys and gruff service of Chinatown. Hakkasan was (and is) sleek and stylish, with a menu that is not overly long and does not trouble diners with the more obscure or awkward dishes of Cantonese food: no duck feet on the menu here. Twenty years on, the décor still looks good, with low, moody lighting for the downstairs dining room and yet with every individual table carefully picked out in pools of light, with wooden screens breaking up the vast dining room into manageable sized sections.
We began with a selection of steamed dim sum, both the classic choice and the vegan selection. Instead of prawns, the har gau here is made using langoustines topped with Prunier caviar. A seafood steamed dumpling mixed scallop, king crab and prawn with XO sauce, while there was also king crab with peppercorn dumpling and wild mushroom dumpling. The vegan choices offered golden squash and lily bulb, black pepper and purple sweet potato, sugar snap and edamame, and wild mushroom with black truffle bean wrap. The dumplings were delicate and the assorted fillings carefully cooked. I thought that the purple sweet potato one was particularly successful and quite unusual, while the classics such as the langoustine har gau were all excellent (both selections were 15/20).
Slow roasted Iberico pork char sui had been cooked for 24 hours, and was coated with black garlic glaze, a couple of stripes of mustard dressing and pickled daikon, whose sharpness was a welcome balance to the richness of the meat; the dish was completed by pork crackling. The meat was rich and had had deep flavour, the mustard sauce just lifting the dish (16/20). Spicy prawn with lily bulb and almonds had good quality prawns that were lightly cooked, the sauce gently spiced (15/20). Pipa duck (pipa is a Chinese musical instrument rather like a lute) was roasted duck with crisp skin, the meat tender and served with a sweet sauce (16/20). Bak choi with garlic was lightly cooked and went especially well with the duck (15/20).
Service was silky smooth as ever, and the overall experience was lovely. The bill came to £188 per person, but this was with cocktails, ample food and Ruinart champagne. It would be possible to eat here for perhaps £85 or so if you ordered in a more abstemious manner.