Hakkasan Chinese New Year Menu: Doha

I’m officially back in London!

My holiday to the Middle East felt like it went by so quick and I am definitely missing the sun. After all, it ain’t London if it ain’t gloomy most of the time!

On my trip, I got to catch up with family, popped over to Dubai to see my wonderful friends and took the opportunity to relax and forget about the stresses of reality back home (aka the never ending job hunt that currently dominates my life). Of course, while I was there I also got to eat at some amazing places and consume mouthwatering dishes (and lots of wine and alcohol too, wahoo!). We went to some great fine dining places in Doha, including Nobu, (check out my previous post for a full round up of that), as well as Hakkasan.

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If you don’t know what Hakkasan is then WHO ARE YOU? hehe just kidding. It is a Michelin starred restaurant that serves contemporary Cantonese dishes. When we went, we were in for a special treat as Hakkasan had launched a  limited edition menu, cocktail and dessert for Chinese New Year. Naturally, I knew I had to try it! Each Hakkasan location in different countries had unique dishes to their Chinese New Year menus, which meant that even when you dined at one of their restaurants, it really was something distinctive to your location, making it a truly unique experience. In Doha, the set menu was priced at QAR448 per person, which is roughly 98.88 pounds (yeah, I had to mention that, Hakkasan is definitely many things but a cheap option is not one of them). As there were four of us, two of us shared the set menu, while the other two got some classic favourites off the a La Carte menu... (all for the food blog right? Sort of… it’s mainly because I always want to make the most of any dining situation and if you know me, you know I get extremely food jealous).

This year was the year of the rooster and the signature cocktail, ‘waltzing colins’ (pisco, sake, mandarin, lemon, grenadine, cucumber and sparkling wine) all had cute rooster broaches attached to the glasses. The cocktail was tasty, although a little bit too sweet to drink loads in a row – (NOT that I am complaining, I was actually a bit hungover from my crazy few days in Dubai- oops)

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For the Doha set menu, we began with the Fortune Tale Salad, with Roasted Chicken and Mooli. This was mixed in front of us as we were all asked to make a wish in the spirit of Chinese New Year for prosperity and good fortune. This was a tasty, light starter and I especially loved the crunch element to it. However, I will say it was a bit one dimensional in terms of flavour. Next, we were served a Hakka steamed dim sum platter. These included Scallop Shumai, Hai gau, Smoked Wagyu Beef and Seabass Dumplings. THESE WERE DELICIOUS. If I had to pick between the salad or dim sum, it’s obvious that dim sum wins EVERY time.Hakkasan is known for its impeccable quality and I couldn’t agree more. My favourite would have to be the Wagyu Beef, they were so soft and tender. Although, each and everyone one was distinctive in flavour and mouth watering!

If that wasn’t enough to entice you from the a la Carte menu, we had the Crispy Duck Salad with Pomelo, Pine Nut and Shallot, as well as Jasmine Tea smoked Wagyu beef ribs. The Duck Salad at Hakkasan is so moreish and the beef ribs melted in our mouths!

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Next, we were served two tasty mains as well as three side dishes. For the expensive price, the amount of food and its quality was worth it. It is the type of place which would always ensure you truly enjoy a special occasion. The mains were steamed Dover Sole with Pumpkin, Shitake Mushrooms in a Soy Fish sauce and Wok -Fried Tiger Prawns with lemongrass and chilli.

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Out of the two, the Dover Sole was more complex in flavours and not to mention- cooked to perfection! I loved all the accompaniments that went with the fish, especially because I would have never paired pumpkin, mushroom and fish together. The prawns were succulent so I don’t have any complaints, only that they were a bit less original if ya’ know what I mean. This was all served with yummy fried rice with salted egg, braised Chinese vegetables and braised abalone.

For desserts, we were served a clever and theatrical dish- probably my favourite in terms of unique plates. Called the ‘Golden Feather’, it was shaped like an egg. The shell  was caramelised white chocolate, the outside ‘whites’ were ginger pannacotta and the centre was a mandarin core.

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It had just the right amount of sweetness and the mandarin added a tart finish. Deciding two desserts are always better than one, we also went for one dessert of the a  La Carte menu.

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The Lemon tart was served with lemon, meringue, crumble and mascarpone ice cream. Considering they were both citrus based desserts, I do have to say I preferred the a La Carte dessert. Maybe this is because I love the combination of creamy mascarpone and lemon. Who knows. Either way, both were luscious.

To round off a wonderful evening, we were asked to write our New Year’s wishes on a piece of bespoke papers, which were then hung all over the famous Hakkasan lattice cages. A perfect end to a perfect evening. Hakkasan always provides exceptional flavours and the New Year’s Menu was a chance to try something new and different. Always a win in my books!

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Anniversary dinner at Yauatcha, Soho

On Friday, Mark and I officially celebrated our four-year anniversary together. –(I know! I don’t think we can still quite believe it either, where has the time gone?). Naturally, we thought it best we celebrate by having a nice dinner together with some drinks. We decided to go to Yauatcha, Soho.

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Mark and I had already been here once before. Picture this: me and mark four years ago trying to be fancy as fu*k on my 19th birthday and realising we were desperately out of our depth. For one, we had little (if any) idea of what to order and we were also not yet used to London’s extortionate prices, still adjusting to our newly found university freedoms.  We both shared a gasp of shock and horror when we realised drinks were £11.50+ and allowed ourselves to only have one each.- No one on Instagram will know! Yet, I still want to applaud my former, younger self for taking the chance and finding the restaurant. Props to you girl. A foodie and you didn’t even know it.

This time round, we were well equipped, prepared and looking forward to taking full advantage of the food. Although we were thirty minutes late (my bad- I am never on time) we quickly sat down and tactically scoured the menu. Mark had the chai la la cocktail (Belvedere vodka, black grapes, oolong tea, apple juice and champagne) and I the Lemonberry Martini (Ketel One Citroen, raspberry, vanilla, lemon and cranberry juice). Mark loved his and mine similarly went down a treat because I was drinking them like they were water and kept on ordering more.

For food, we ordered a selection of dumplings, these included: the pork and prawn Shui mai (£5.90), the Striploin beef and enoki mushroom Cheung fun (£9.80) and the fried Roasted duck pumpkin puff with pine nut. (£5.80). My ultimate favourite was definitely the roasted duck pumpkin puff which was crispy and flavourful, although I have to say that I really enjoyed all three and because we chose each from a section on the menu, we had the perfect assortment of dim sum.

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Roasted Duck Dim Sum

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Prawn and Chicken Shui Mai

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For our mains, we decided to go for the Stir-fry rib eye beef in black bean sauce (£21.20) and the Kung pao chicken with cashew nut (£15.90). We did initially want to try the sweet and sour pork but were told that as it was quite heavy and a greasier option. I’m glad we were given that advice because my preferred out of the two was the chicken. However, the beef was also succulent and tender, and both dishes were perfected to a high-quality standard. We also decided to order an accompaniment of egg white fried rice with dried scallop and asparagus(£10.00). This side dish was more expensive than the other more simple egg fried rice option, but I am not usually a big fan of rice, and I found I particularly enjoyed the twist on a classic and had no problem topping up my plate with more. I would like to say that while it was fantastic Chinese food, the mains were not the highlight of our visit and next time I think I would like to try more of the dim sum instead. The dim sum list is extensive and from what we tried, each moreish and delectable in their own way.

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Stir-fry beef in black bean sauce

Mark always tries to avoid the dessert part but guess what it’s a celebratory dinner Mark, and I call the shots. (joking… sort of). For dessert, we had the Milk Chocolate, Jasmine and Honey. This was a silky milk chocolate and jasmine flavoured mousse with a caramelised honey pannacotta and popping candy. I spent a good fifteen minutes at this point asking myself if I was drunk or if I could ACTUALLY sense some popping candy. While Mark had absolutely no idea what I was talking about it turns out I was right- even when tipsy, go me. This dessert was delicate, creamy and decadent. I loved it.

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Overall, it’s safe to say we had a lovely evening over a yummy dinner set in the perfect ambience. We decided to continue the night back at mine with some red wine. Two glasses in and I… was ready for bed.

Happy four years to us.