Hakkasan [London] (split from Manhattan)
Can't say much about the NYC establishment. However, the London one is way-way over-rated 'foodwise' IMO. For a Chinese restaurant, the place indeed looked pretty nice but the food is mediocre by Hong Kong/ China standard! Nice plate presentation can never compensate for the taste. Once again, contrary to what they say in the guide, Michelin dish out the star based on decor more than food!! Wonder if they'll do the same for the NYC one??!!
And why was it "over-rated foodwise? Why was the London Hakkasan "mediocre" by Hongkong standards? (No need to include mainland "Chinese standards" - what with the severe pollution, major food safety issues and massive corruption problems).
Did you post an actual CH review of London Hakkasan that we can read? From my experience, NY hounds rely on their own taste buds, not on Michelin, Zagat or any other guide books.
i went there once, in 2010 when i was living in London...service was borderline-rude/offputting..i had the much-lauded dimsum combo which i thought was mushy and more about the various colorings than the taste, and i had one (or two?) other small dishes which i've completely forgotten, and drinks...the place felt like an Meatpacking District scene from NY, rather than being about the food...i never had any desire to return during my 5 months in London...
Simon, the link in Cheeryvisage's OP, regarding Alan Yau's sale of Hakkasan (and Yauatcha) to an Abu Dhabi Investment company in 2009, which subsequently turned it into a chain, perhaps provided a vital clue to the erosion in standards at Hakkasan. Same thing happened to Wagamama.
I had a rather pleasant first-time experience at Hakkasan back in 2003. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I actually went there because I watched Hugh Grant ate there in the movie "About a Boy". At the time, the dim sum basket I had was the tastiest I'd ever had in London, *ever*. Sad to hear that you had such a lousy experience in 2010 :-(
The dim sum combo I had at Hakkasan back in 2003. I used that as my Avatar on Chowhound for quite a while ;-)
At the time, they tasted better than those from many places we had in Singapore, and comparable to the top dim sum spots in HK. I remembered also ordering a Hakka-style braised pork and "mui choy" (salted vegetable) dish which I enjoyed very much - I remembered that particular dish because when I got back to Singapore, I recommended one of my brother-in-laws and also a close friend (who were both Hakka-Chinese) to try that dish at Hakkasan on their next visit to London.
Wow, I guess we Chowhounds are all pretty passionate about our food, huh?
Charles, we should do a Chowdown at Hakkasan London or Yauatcha one of these days. It's been too long since we last met! Not sure how Hakkasan London is like these days, but Yauatcha's not bad at all during my last visit early this year:
You are right about Hakkasan's Michelin rating, Charles - I also thought it was the overall package - hip decor, great bar/ drinks, rather than just the food per se, which earned Hakkasan its stripes, ... I mean, star. But there's no denying that Hakkasan did raise London's Chinese food industry to another level. Remember those "bad old days" of run-down interiors, reticent service and coarse Toishan-style cuisine in London Chinatown stalwarts like Fung Shing, New Mayflower, et al? Well, Hakkasan inspired Chinese restaurateurs to innovate and move forward with the times - which is why many London Chinatown restaurants these days, like Haozhan & Dumpling's Legend, actually looked like they belong to an upmarket HK mall.
I wonder what Hakkasan's London-based Executive Chef, Tong Chee Hwee, thinks of all these comments on the Hakkasan chain. I have great respect for Chef Tong Chee Hwee. Chef Tong's background, as per Debrett's:
1982-84 Trainee at Happy Valley Restaurant Singapore
1985-87 No. 3 Fryer chef at Happy Valley Restaurant, Malaysia
1988-89 No. 3 Fryer chef at Wah Lok Restaurant, Carlton Hotel Singapore
1989-95 No. 2 Fryer chef at Li Bai Restaurant, Sheraton Towers Singapore
1995-96 No. 1 Fryer chef at Wan Hao Restaurant, Marriott Hotel Singapore
1996-2001 Senior Fryer chef at the Summer Pavilion Restaurant, Ritz Carlton Singapore
2001 - present Head chef Hakkasan London (1 Michelin Star 2003-, Oriental Restaurant of the Year 2003 Carlton Restaurant Awards)
As for the Hakkasan chain, I guess when you are owned by a bunch of investors out to maximize profits, and expand rapidly around the globe, something's got to give.