HAKKASAN: FALLING AT THE LAST HURDLE
Ever had victory snatched from your fingers at the last moment? Haven’t we all? Ever had a wonderful experience ruined by one act of stupidity? Of course.
That’s how today’s lunch at Hakkasan felt. A great shame as, to the last minute, we both agreed that this was “right up there” with the best dim sum we had ever tried and they had to go and spoil it all by trying to bend us over the table we had just used and try and take the piss when we came to pay the bill.
And, it all started so well too.
We had not been to Hakkasan for quite a while. But, on previous visits the food had been exemplary. So, after a week of over indulgence we thought some dim sum would be the perfect way to round it off. Recent experiences at both the lower and mid level places had been underwhelming so, we decided to splash out and make a reservation for 12.30 at the best place in town.
The food, well the food was as good as ever. In fact, better than ever. There were many new dim sum dishes that had been added to the menu only days before and we chose three of those along with a more regular selection of fried, baked and steamed.
All excellent, but standouts were an Australian blue swimmer crab dumpling, a deep fried cuttlefish roll with a fabulously sour fish sauce, turnip paste topped with an omelette of chives & garlic and fried Shanghai dumplings. All the other dishes were spot on too with even a standard dish of har gau causing some raised eyebrows.
I don’t have many pictures as they are a bit “iffy” about it and asked me not too. Fair enough. Still, every dish was attractive and each maintained the distinct nature of its key ingredients without swamping them in stroke inducing MSG.
Along with some noodlage, some garlic shoots, some non alcoholic cocktails and a couple of pots of “four seasons” oolong, the bill came to £90 including 13% service.
The service, was, as always, bang on the button and I have no problem at all paying a service charge. What I do have a problem with is then being presented with a credit card slip where the gratuity line is still left open. It seems to be a common practice in all Chinese restaurants in London and that is bad enough, but for a place at this level everyone involved should hang their heads.
It left as bad a taste in our mouth as if we had been offered a palate cleanser of dead dog and has soured what was otherwise a excellent meal to no more than a bitter memory.
I am not often tempted to write to a restaurant owner, but, as I am in full consumer vengeance mode today having taken some foul hot chocolate back to Apostrophe this morning and demanded a refund, I am going to send an e-mail and see what they say.
I suspect I already know and I think the second word will be “off”
Shame on them.