If you’re inclined to eschew the extravagant ephemera that will inevitably engulf Shaftesbury avenue this weekend, head over to HKK, the slick Chinese restaurant tucked neatly into one of Liverpool Street’s suave back pockets. Enjoying an association with Hakkasan Group’s extensive portfolio; HKK is the Michelin-starred, dim lit gem headed up by Chef Tong Chee Hwee.
Equidistant to both Liverpool Street station and Shoreditch High Street, this den of opulence is offering an incredible ten course menu to help you and your taste buds celebrate the Chinese New Year. Diners will be treated to a culinary pilgrimage, aided by a selection of Michelin-starred dishes native to ten provinces around China.
Showcasing the correlation between cuisine and cultural identity, this delectable selection not only promises a delicious evening, it also offers an educational experience where food and geography are inextricably linked.
With its vast geographical backdrop as the thematic premise, some of China’s most popular regions receive appetising recognition, with diners finding themselves on a metaphorical journey, experiencing the ‘eight culinary traditions’ of Su, Lu, Yue, Min, Xiang, Hui, Zhe and Chuan cuisine.
If this feast’s sheer quantity sounds a little more Henry VIII than Hakkasan, don’t be deterred. Each plate is delicate in both its presentation and serving, with dense, rich flavours ensuring diners depart contented. And if you’re still in doubt, opt for the wine pairings to help you tuck away those courses (yes, there is plenty to drink too).
The expedition through China’s culinary landscape twists and turns with every dish, ensuring the classics (Peking duck, Wagyu beef ) receive as much praise as the interesting and lesser-known (Monk Jumps Over The Wall had an endearing story).
Highlights include the Peking duck, with artistic composition to rival a Picasso, and suggested instructions for maximum enjoyment. The dim sum trilogy was another highpoint; if aesthetics are important, you’ll revel in the adorable paintbrush provided purely to dress your dumplings with soy. Finally, the Wagyu beef was quite a show stopper, while delicate seasbass and jasmine tea-smoked poussin offered exquisite respite to the heartier dishes.
Eight courses in, dessert is surprisingly/worryingly viable – depending how you look at it. With a dessert duo ready to seal the deal on the ten courses, elegant sweetness arrives in the form of sheep’s milk mousse – a playful nod to the year of the ram – followed by bold yuzu-ginger infused gyozas, which determinedly make their presence known with unmistakably Oriental flavours and a characteristically-gooey texture.
The inescapable decadence extends far past the food and into the brooding, candle-lit surroundings. A wispy curtain plays room divider between the restaurant and bar, which is no-doubt bursting with city types and the sound of weekend anticipation with each friday night’s reprise. And if you’ve post-dining New Year celebrations up your sleeve, HKK’s proximity to the equally-impressive sipping and supping hot spots beholden to the Heron Tower et al are less of a journey than the extensive menu’s theoretical one; sky-high cocktails are but a short walk.
Chinese New Year menu: £98 person, wine pairing supplement £58.
Tel: 020 3535 1888