We have joined forces with the lovely people at olive Magazine to bring you a spankin’ new series about the best places to enjoy a boozy lunch in the capital. The ultimate food porn. olive is to food what BarChick it to booze so if you’re as in to your sushi as you are your Sweet Manhattans you should probably check out their Facebook page.
There’s a first time for everything and this is olive’s for jellyfish. It’s one of the new dishes on Hakkasan Mayfair’s menu and while it’s hard to go past classics such as crispy duck salad, and salt and pepper squid, in we bravely go. Served cold with wild mushroom in VSOP sauce it’s a bit like tuna tartare but with more chew, and the dried scallop, shrimp and garlic sauce has quite a chilli kick. The signature dishes of roasted silver cod with champagne, and black truffle roast duck may be luxury on a plate to us, but they’re pretty quotidian to most of our fellow diners: packs of City types with uncurtailed expense accounts and skinny-hipped, bronzed ladies. But we’re tempted by the more humble-sounding braised short rib - so tender that our waitress ‘carves’ it with a spoon and shares the glossy sauce made from sha sha, oyster and soy between two of us. Morning glory, that stringly, spinach-style greenery is a good, garlicky accompaniment. We also try the house tofu, made from cooked pumpkin and stir fried with a vegetarian fish floss (seaweed, sesames seed and soya bean) and more chilli - the generous serving could easily feed four.
Hakkasan’s cocktails do not make navigating its subterranean passages easy. We suggest starting with a refreshing Saketini (vodka, gin, sake, lime, cucumber,) and a Smoky Negroni - with Japanese whisky and plum sake adding depth to the Campari and sweet vermouth base - post-lunch. Sunglasses will be necessary when you emerge on to Bruton Street.
WHO TO TAKE - someone considerably richer than you.
DON'T BE SURPRISED IF - you get lost on the way back from the loo: lighting is beautifully moody
BUT SURPRISINGLY AFFORDABLE - Hakkasan’s cocktail classes at sister restaurant Hanway Place are £30pp. Learn how to mix signature or classic drinks with plenty of banter and canapes - call 020 7927 7000 or see details at hakksan.com/mayfair