88 Worship Street, London, EC2A 2DQ, United Kingdom

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Chef interview

Tong Chee Hwee is head chef of HKK, and overall executive chef of the large Hakkasan group. He was the original head chef of the Hanway Place branch of the London Hakkasan, the first one of the group.  

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HKK is the flagship of the Hakkasan group. Executive chef Tong Chee Hwee was the original head chef at the first Hakkasan, and as well as being head chef here is also in charge of food for the Hakkasan empire, which now has a dozen locations from the US to China. At dinner HKK offers a tasting menu format at £98.

This particular meal began with marinated pork (from Duke of Yorkshire estate) with osmanthus jelly, which gave a slightly floral note to the pork (16/20). This was followed by a Canadian scallop with sweet basil and jasmine tea mousse with “supreme seafood soup”. The scallop was indeed sweet and carefully cooked (16/20).

The cherry wood- roasted Peking duck is a star dish here. You are served the very delicate skin first, then the breast of duck, which had excellent flavour (17/20). The other reliably top dish in the tasting menu is the dim sum trilogy, which I have written about before and was as superb as ever. The dim sum here are comparable to anywhere in Hong Kong (17/20).

Next were Chinese chives with Alaskan king crab, garlic shoots, lotus root and water chestnut in XO sauce. The crab had good flavour, and the water chestnut and lotus root worked well with the delicate shellfdish flavour (16/20). This was followed by glutinous rice ball and custard layer cake served with white penny tea, a pleasant intermezzo course (15/20).

Australian green abalone came in “royal sauce” with baked Chilean sea bass in black truffle sauce.  The abalone managed to be reasonably tender, something that is not easy to achieve, and the Chilean sea bass (which is really just the marketing name for Patagonion toothfish) was properly cooked, though I am never especially convinced about the virtues of this compared to local sea bass (15/20).

For meat we had seared wagyu beef with coffee barbecue sauce, and spiced cumin organic lamb from Rhug farm. These were both of good quality, carefully cooked, with their accompaniments not as distracting as I feared that they might be e.g. the coffee flavour was subtle (16/20).

Passion fruit jelly with lychee tapioca, chocolate, sesame and lime concluded the meal. This was lovely, the tropical fruits refreshing and the balance of the dish just right (17/20).

Service here is genuinely top notch; staff are given extensive training, and it shows, with waiters attentive, efficient and courteous. The bill, with some excellent Louis Roederer champagne to drink, came to approximately £150 (my companion paid and I did not see the final total). Overall, HKK is certainly not a cheap experience, but it does offer classy food with better ingredients than are normal in London Chinese restaurants, as well as silky smooth service. The very best dishes here are genuinely classy.


Further reviews: 03rd Nov 2014 | 18th Oct 2013

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User comments

  • Gordon Riby

    I have eaten here a few times. I love the cherry wood roasted Peking duck. HKK and Royal China (Queensway) are my favourite Chinese restaurants in London.

  • drew smith

    Yep, I think you are right about HKK...we had an excellent dim sum lunch at the Hakkasan off Tottenham Court Road the other week...definitely working in more interesting territory than most places