“恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財” (Gōngxǐ fācái – Happiness and prosperity)
It is always a pleasure to visit Hakkasan Abu Dhabi, whether it’s for drinks and dim sum at the bar, afternoon tea, Hakka Friday brunch or dinner you are always guaranteed the highest standard of modern Cantonese cuisine food and exemplary service. Last week the other half and I were invited to celebrate Chinese New Year at its Emirates Palace location here in the capital. We feasted on the limited edition set menu showcasing dishes designed to bring luck, joy and prosperity in 2017, inspired by the Year of the Rooster. The savoury courses are accompanied by an exclusive cocktail and dessert and the menu, which will be on offer at all eleven Hakkasan restaurants worldwide, will be available until Saturday 11th February.
The number eight (because its name Ba sounds similar to Fa which means wealth or fortune), gold and mandarins are all considered lucky in Chinese culture and feature in Hakkasan’s new year celebration. Our evening began at the beautiful bar with a Waltzing Collins cocktail decorated with a golden rooster, the fruity concoction features Peruvian pisco, sake, mandarin (symbol of good luck for the new year), lemon, grenadine, cucumber and sparkling wine. For those who prefer a mocktail, the non-alcoholic Waltzing Temple is available.
Once seated at our table our meal began with the signature Hakka steamed dim sum platter featuring scallop shumai, har gau, smoked Wagyu beef, sea bass dumpling and a separate selection of vegetarian dim sum for the non-meat and fish eaters. The Fortune Tale salad was next, a traditional Chinese prosperity salad that is presented to the table in its deconstructed form, the strips of roasted chicken, jellyfish and mooli (radish) are then tossed together at the table along with olive oil and sesame seeds. The eating of this dish at Chinese New Year celebration is thought to bring prosperity and fortune to those dining.
Main dishes include steamed dover sole with pumpkin, shiitake mushroom in a soya fish sauce, wok-fried tiger prawn with lemongrass and chilli, braised abalone with fat choy and dried oyster and braised Chinese vegetable in bean curd skin all served with golden fried rice with salted egg. Dessert can only be described as incredible, the chefs excelled themselves using the plate as a canvas to create Golden Feather. This innovative Year of the Rooster dessert features a caramelised white chocolate egg shell filled with ginger panna cotta and a mandarin yolk. The whole creative dessert rested on a nest of edible kataifi straw and was decorated with golden chocolate wings, presentation and flavours were equally on point, a fantastic finale to a delectable meal. The number eight is represented in the price of AED 488* per person for the three course menu.
The Hakkasan celebration not only honours the new year, that begins on Saturday 28th January, with food and drinks but also observes the ancient Chinese wishing tree tradition inspired by the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees in Hong Kong. The Wishing Tree is synonymous with good luck and fortune and legend goes that by hanging your hopes for the coming year on the tree will make your dreams come true. At Hakkasan each guest is invited to write their wishes on traditional red and gold ribbons with a bespoke rooster design (by London illustrator Kam Tang) and hang them on the lattice cages dividing the restaurant or outside on the trees surrounding the terrace walkway.
Award-winning Hakkasan Abu Dhabi offers the best Cantonese cuisine in the capital, embracing the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang and using that concept of opposite forces that complement each other in both its food and decor. It’s a distinctive dining experience that never falters, the signature dishes, the top notch mixology and stunning interiors impress me every time I visit. It’s always memorable and most certainly enjoyable and I thoroughly recommend a visit to anyone who hasn’t already had the pleasure.
Hakkasan Abu Dhabi
Location: East Wing, Emirates Palace Hotel, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 690 7999
The Chinese New Year menu is priced at AED 488* per person and available at both Hakkasan Abu Dhabi and Hakkasan Dubai (*All prices are subject to a 10% service charge, 6% tourism fee and 4% municipality fee.)
I was invited to attend this event but all the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved.