You know what happens when you’ve been craving Yum Cha for months and invariably don’t end up going out to grab some – you refuse to settle for anything but the best! Since the dim sum hankering didn’t leave me, we made our way to Hakkasan at the Emirates Palace – by any standards – not your average choice for friday brunch! Since the opening of the original London restaurant with Michelin stars to its name, the Hakkasan brand has expanded globally – two of their famous outposts in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Hakkasan’s atmosphere is vibrant, intriguing and inviting, the kind that makes you forget the sun is shining ever so brightly outside, which if you ask me, makes it the perfect spot of a chic brunch. The menu covers a range of steamed and fried dim sums that arrive at your table from the brunch menu along with a live station that consists of Peking duck rolled in pancakes, soups and desserts. We opted for beers and the Hakka punch to complement our dim sums and that was pretty much all the effort we had to make.
Every dim sum ( whether fried, baked or steamed) reiterates why Hakkasan is renowned for what they do – I hate to sound scientific, but its the magic of textural differentiation.
Every bite offers something new to the taste buds and that is a commendable feat to achieve in dim sums. I’ve eaten more than my fair share of yum cha, but their Scallop Siu Mai is easily the best I’ve tried to date. The szechuan style dumplings swimming in that chilli broth, the crisp bite of the prawn paired with foie gras that doesn’t over-shadow and a peppery pumpkin puff that is as pretty as it is scrumptious. There’s more than enough impeccable dimsum to go around but save room for what’s next.
From the mains, the delicate balance of flavors in the steamed sea prawns with fresh scallion and chilli sauce poured over thin glass noodles was the perfect contrast to the sticky spicy sanpei claypot chicken, a Hakkasan signature dish. Served alongside steamed seasonal vegetables ( perfectly crunchy snow peas – such a hit!) and jasmine rice.
All portion sizes were perfect for sharing between us two and made sure we were happy and full. All along the service was attentive and the whole restaurant had a great buzz with people obviously having a good time( fueled both by dim sums and free flowing champagne in equal measure), just what you need on a Friday brunch.
The dessert selection albeit small is pretty comprehensive – so everyone will find something they love. Luckily they are all mini-size portions so we got the chance to try more of a variety. The lemon tart, the vanilla panna cotta and the chef’s special hand made chocolate won us over, but I did miss having a Chinese dessert – something on the lines of a chilled pudding with sago or even sweet sticky dumpling would have elevated the overall experience.
With all my yum cha cravings thoroughly satiated (and how), we walked away glancing across their gorgeous outdoor terrace to which we must return when the good weather makes an appearance again. I already have a mental check-list for things to try on their a la carte menu (you know, as any good foodie would do)
Location: Hakkasan, Emirates Palace, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi