Hakka brunch at Hakkasan Abu Dhabi

Review: A regal Cantonese feast fit for a king

Hakka brunch at Hakkasan Abu Dhabi

DETAILS: Dhs318 (soft drinks), Dhs438 (house beverages), Dhs678 (bubbly). Fri noon-4pm. Emirates Palace, Corniche West (02 690 7739).

They say only two things in life are certain – death and taxes. Well, we’d like to add a third to that list: brunch at Hakkasan is outstanding.

Abu Dhabi’s slice of the world-renowned Chinese chain sits in the sprawling grounds of the Emirates Palace – and rightly so, as the food is fit for a king.

We dress for the occasion (no shorts or flip-flops in here, gents) and take a seat inside the elegant dining room.

Set against the backdrop of royal grandeur, this restaurant, Highly Commended in our Best Chinese category last year, is tasteful and staff are attentive but not overly fussy. The crowd includes young professionals, couples and tourists.

Brunch is a set menu (there is a “live” Peking duck station, however the chef has already pre-rolled pancakes – and they’re delicious).

The food is too delicate to be served all-you-can-eat style. You wouldn’t let the crown jewels be prodded and poked by the general public, would you?

We begin with crab and sweetcorn soup – packed with meat it’s a solid start. It’s followed by golden-fried soft shell crab and red chilli. Here we find the first jewel – and it’s not the crab itself but the “chicken crumble” covering it. It looks like hay yet tastes like chicken and nut candy floss. We’re just waiting for the Hakkasan funfair to open so we can buy bags and bags of it every weekend.

As we struggle to keep our decorum and resist grabbing the plate and licking up every crumb, out comes the next course of dim sum. Szechuan-style wonton, a har gau wagyu beef dumpling, a mushroom dumpling, pan-fried taro cake and a towering prawn dumpling with foie gras sauce are just bite after bite of pure joy.

Somehow, the chefs elevate the course even higher with a chicken floss savoury triangle and the utterly exceptional wagyu beef truffle puff.

On a world-class menu it can be difficult to stand out, but this dish is king and we struggle to cope with the prospect of only having one. The waiter, sensing our turmoil, brings out another.

Mains of stir-fried black pepper rib-eye beef, steamed wild prawn with sides of stir-fried sugar snap peas, cloud ear mushrooms and ginger and jasmine rice are faultless. The beef is well-seasoned and the sauce is velvety yet fiery.

We somehow find room to fit in an entire wheel of the chef’s dessert selection that rounds off a truly regal experience.

The packages are remarkable value given the quality. Fridays here are very special indeed.

The bottom line
Stunning from start to finish.

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