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Hakuba - Worst Mistake...Ever [London]

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I've been living in London since August, but I was expecting to get back to the US for the holidays. Unfortunately (not that unfortunately, except for this meal...), I was stuck in Bloomsbury (one of my favourite areas in my favourite city!...the timing was just rubbish as everyone I knew in London had already gone on holiday!)

I passed by Hakumba after going to the YMCA Central gym, and noticed that they had a Christmas Menu. Rather than getting the normal Chinese food for Christmas, I decided to mix it up a bit, seeing as Japanese is my favourite cuisine. That was the worst decision...and I very well might still get some Chinese food delivered....

It was absolutely the worst meal ever. I made a reservation, and got there promptly at 6:30. I ordered my meal (the 22 pound set dinner). They told me that there was only 1 out of the 3 appetizer choices remaining...no lobster, no "golden" sushi...just the crab and mango salad roll. The crab and mango salad role was just that - fake crab, mayonaise, a slice of mango on each of the three mini pieces...all wrapped in...wilted lettuce. Definitely not the best way for a foodie to start her night....In addition to the starter, I ordered (all at 6:30 when i sat down) the lamb, and the Molten Green Tea and Belgian Chocolate Cake.

The beginning of the meal, service wise was fine...not truly horrid (like it would later become), just pretty poor. Even places like Ultimate Burger wait on diners more.

Five to ten minutes after my starter, they brought out Miso Soup...how can a Japanese restaurant mess up miso soup? I'm not quite sure, but I do know that they ruined it. Miso soup generally has a bit of saltiness, however, this just tasted like water with blanched/de-salted seaweed.

Twenty minutes later, the main course came. It was a wilted "side salad" (a few pieces of lettuce - no dressing/they didn't bring out any with it, either), and unseasoned, boiled broccoli and cauliflower. The lamb was salty beyond belief, tough, overcooked, incredibly chewy, and got stuck in my teeth.
(I noticed later that only a few people had rice come with their main, but many did not).

The free "champagne" was horrid and tasted worse that cheap prosecco or Cava that one can by at Sainsbury...

Water refills - non-existent...one measly little cup...

The dessert is where the service truly was awful. I ordered the dessert

Desert - waited 30-40 minutes-asked for it to go at 7:55---

(I ordered everything at 6:36ish)

Nobody checked on me
--i flagged multiple servers down asking for my dessert to go and my bill

I was ready to get up and leave when someone finally came over (I looked exasperated...and said I ordered my whole meal at 6:30 and just want my dessert to go)

Why didn't I just get chinese? I didn't have lunch to save for this...it was 22 pounds....

I got my dessert to go at 8:15

There is no manager on duty/he's busy...

I asked 2 different people to speak to the manager...

There are tons of empty tables, but they keep turning people away...

She picked up my money at 8:20....finally left at 8:24

Oh, also, they said on the phone the restaurant closed at ten tonight, but they closed it at 8:30

in short...worst Japanese food I've ever had, and one of the worst dinner experiences ever. Over priced, not good, and definitely not worth it.

Happy Holidays!

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  1. I live nearby and curious as to what prompted you to go in there to begin with!

    My wife and I always joke as we walk by that the only people inside must be people originally looking for nearby Hakkasan and had gotten lost and confused!

    3 Replies
    1. re: r.vacapinta

      I think the OP's options were rather limited - as it was Christmas Day!

      1. re: r.vacapinta

        I must've walked by the place millions of times. @GreedyGirl is right - it was Christmas Day and I was supposed to be in California by then, but was stuck in London for a few extra days! I heard Hakkasan is incredible!!

        Happy New Year!

        1. re: yummyy

          I ate there once, not long after it opened. Poor food, and the service was laughably awful in its gormlessness.