The cynic in me comes alive when a food critic sprinkles their review with adjectives such as divine and spectacular. But having sampled the iftar set menu offered at chic Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard, I am tempted to do the same.
From the ambience — the famed indigo lighting and the intricately-carved walls in dark wood — to the impeccable service and the delicately-flavoured food, the experience borders on the sublime. But before you set eyes on the options offered on the three-course set menu, be sure to sample the gigantic green olives. Down it with a tall glass of jasmine tea-infused fruit mocktail and you are off to a good start.
On the appetiser front, you can either choose Wagyu beef and mushroom wrap, chicken and lotus root dumpling, Chilean seabass shumai or crispy taro rice rolls. Naturally, it was the larger-than-usual chicken and lotus dumpling that got all our love and attention. The delicately steamed orange parcels wasn’t a casualty to too-much-sauce in the filling.
The Chilean seabass shumai was perfectly flavoured and steamed. For the main course, the options weren’t modest. While the charcoal grilled black cod with a smattering of Chinese chives had the right bite of steamed and fried, it was the tender braised Wagyu beef with szechuan pepper that bowled us over. The meat was cooked and seasoned with the right amount of spice. Team it with the steaming bunch of pak choi with garlic and you have a winner. For all those who are hooked on poultry, the stir-fry Kung Pao corn-fed chicken is a fiery option. But watch out for the fried red chillies.
The portions were kept on a tight leash, which works because most iftars offered across the city are victim to the more-is-more mantra, Not Hakkasan, Round off your meal with Hakkamisu, a Cantonese answer to tiramisu or apple tart with green apple sorbet on the side. Iftar or not, this famed chain frequented by celebrities including Shah Rukh Khan and Morgan Freeman, delivers on all counts.
*Dh188. Last orders for iftar set menu is 12.45am. Call 04 384 84 84.