Tag Archives: Chinese

Hakkasan

Hakka
How I Found Out: It’s around 11:30 am, I’m half asleep and at work (a bank). I pick up the phone and proceed to dial my client’s number (a lighting manufacturer) to discuss a project we would potentially be financing. A 04, 7 numbers and two rings later a voice on the other end of the phone says “Hello this is Hakkasan”. Sitting up on my chair I respond with, “Excuse me? Did you say Hakkasan? The restaurant? Did I call Abu Dhabi by mistake? Did you say Hakkasan?” (I repeat myself when I’m confused) After several minutes of clarification and 4 follow-up phone calls, on my part, I get a table booked for the opening – score! How I Experienced Hakkasan: Aimlessly wandering around Emirates Towers calling out Hakkasan’s name, I finally see a randomly placed blue carpet rolled out next to Cartier and think – this must be it. Opening the doors to the restaurant I first notice the smell of Chinese incense and then stunning architecture which blocks all other senses from activating. Taking my tour around the restaurant an Oh Wow follows another Oh Wow and then another. Where did all this come from? And where am I? Is what I feel. Taking my seat, I order my favorite drink, a Lyche Martini, and start exploring their menu. Their menu is roughly divided into soups, small eats, seafood, poultry, meat, tofu, vegetarian and noodles and rice. My party of two stunning men arrives and we make a string of orders left, right and center – the more the merrier is the theme. Our starters of a dimsum platter, soft shell crab, prawn toast, pandan prawn and beef ribs arrive. As the lid of the dimsum platter is lifted a plume of smoke escapes. I quickly locate the most interesting looking one and go for it – the volcano. I pop it into my mouth and the rich, meat brothy lava gushes out as I bite into it. I take a bite out of my beautifully presented prawn toast and a squirt of foie gras sprays out. As I continue chewing, I start to notice that there may be too much bread in each bite and not enough prawn meat and foie gras. Both my soft shell crab and pandon prawn have powerful spicy kicks which I enjoy, although they both need a good dunking in a sauce to make the bite worthwhile. The beef ribs look gorgeous its color resembling a dark bordeaux infused with an eggplant purple. A nail polish color I would die for and in true Essie form it would be named “Oral Fixation”. (That was for my mani lovers) The beef ribs hit the trilogy of S’s – Sweet, soft and Smokey.   Our mains of champing silver cod, XO lobster, Pipa duck, 5 spice beef and veggie fried rice arrive. Biting in to the pipa duck goes something like this, crunchiness then softness, crunchiness then softness. The duck skin is cooked to ultimate crispiness while the meat remains soft. Paired with fresh ginger, this may be the best duck bite I have ever had. Taking a bite of the champagne drenched cod I remember a blow your mind blockbuster movie trailer (the description on the menu) followed by a not so spectacular movie (bite). I feel as though the cod needs more of a smoky touch to it. It is not bad by all means, but it falls short of my expectations especially at AED 230 a pop. Our five spice beef is simple, traditional and classic. Although one of my gorgeous men exclaimed that he could get the exact same dish in Karama for less than half the price. The XO lobster is greatly welcomed, soft lobster in the signature XO sauce infused with vegetables which is what we missed from the other main offerings. And finally a pannacotta with a much needed sorbet on top which serves as a refresher to cleans our pallet. As I bid farewell to Hakkasan, which was my date for the evening, memories of our oh-so-important first date race through my mind. I can most closely resemble Hakkasan to a STUNNING woman with an alright personality. You can’t help but be in her company just to stare at her but after several hours, maybe days or weeks you would be asking for more. With the price tag and the hype I expected each dish to easily be hit out of the park one after the other Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam. Unfortunately I got several runners on the plate a couple strikes and only three home runs – the beef ribs, the pipa duck and the XO lobster.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION: Emirates Towers OPENING HRS: Lunch and Dinner CUISINE: Chinese PRICE PER COUPLE: AED 1,400 TELEPHONE #: 04 384 8484  
THE FORK-O-METER
So Pretty But I Expected More
   

PF Chang

PF
When I hear PF Chang opened in Dubai I think to myself hmm… Chine restaurant that’s a big red X, large chain that’s another big red X. Having just watched America’s Got Talent I reflect and conclude ok that’s two big red Xs and not 3 which means – let’s get this review on the Fork-O-Meter. We enter PF Chang, which is in the new extension of Mall of the Emirates, and the first thing I notice is the amount of people dining in the restaurant that instantly gave off a lively vibe which I value. The design of PF Chang can be characterized as warm; with dark wood, low lighting and earth toned colored art. Opening the menu my eyes quickly catch onto Chinese staples that everyone loves and my ordering beings: vegetable spring rolls, lettuce wrap, sweet and sour chicken, steamed white rice and vanilla ice cream. The spring rolls arrive and are scrumptious. They are exceptionally crispy, stuffed to the brim with the correct spring vegetables and accompanied by a sweet and sour sauce that finishes in an instant. I have a total of 4 rolls all to myself! Next are my chicken lettuce wraps. Having been bombarded by comments from a colleague that the warps are nothing short of ideal my anticipation is sky high. I roll up my wrap take a bit and wait. 1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi 3 Mississippi ok… am I missing something? I take another bite and all I get is chicken with crispy lettuce – nothing to write home about. My sweet and sour chicken was made entirely with chicken breast something I always look for. The large chunky pieces of chicken are immersed in thick, gooey sweet and sour sauce, the sauce is so rich that even a block of cement would taste good in it. Accompanying my main is steamed fluffy white rice. I end with a scoop of classic Baskin Robbinsy/ Haagen-Dazsy vanilla ice cream. On my way out I spot a piece of dessert cake waiting to be served that literally stops me in my tracks. With no exaggeration the slice could have easily been one kilo in weight; so just a warning if you do plan on ordering a cake be ready to share or loosen your belt. I can’t say that I have any major complaints about PF Chang but at the same time I can’t say that it made me throw my hands up in that and say lord I just don’t care I want PF Chang every day! If I am in the mood for well priced Chinese, which would be once a year, actually let’s make that every other year, I would be sliding back into one of their booths. Although if asked will be successful in Dubai I would say yes.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION: MOE and DXB Mall OPENING HRS: Mall Timings CUISINE: Chinese PRICE PER COUPLE: AED 150    
THE FORK-O-METER
A Since we are in the Mall Restaurant