Hakkasan Terrace: an urban sanctuary in the heart of Dubai
Definitely not your average run-of-the mill Chinese food
Last week, a friend and I became acquainted with the new Terrace menu at Hakkasan Dubai, located in the Emirates Towers Hotel, downtown.
Already fairly well accustomed to Cantonese style cuisine back in Ireland (my best friend growing up is of Chinese decent), I haven't had any since I moved to Dubai. Suffice, to say I had extremely high expectations before I had even walked in the door – Hakkasan's reputation precedes them in all of their venues throughout the world and it's one restaurant I'd been meaning to tick off my bucket list for quite some time.
We took the Metro from JLT to the World Trade Centre for our reservation at 8pm (it took about 25 minutes) . At this time, the Metro is definitely the more preferable option as the traffic on SZR seemed pretty stuffed. The restaurant itself is only a five minute walk from the station so is perfectly manageable whether or not you've put on a pair of heels for the occasion.
Here's the best bits:
The sense of calm as soon as you walk in the door
"Translating the unique elements of our personality – calm, tranquility and humility – into an elegant and vibrant experience"Hakkasan
I couldn't say it better myself. This quote perfectly describes our Hakkasan experience. When we first walked through the entrance and down the dimly-lit stone-walled hall to the reception I wasn't quite sure if I was walking in to a restaurant or some sort of urban spa: The low, but not-too-low lighting, the hushed modern-oriental mix music playing melodically in the background and the elegant dark-wood oriental inspired decor all played their part in contributing to the elegant and relaxed ambiance in the restaurant.
After we introduced ourselves at the reception, we were offered a seat at the extremely well stocked bar before we made our way out to the Terrace. In all honesty, I've never seen such a complete selection of drink options in one place and the bar staff certainly have the flare for putting them to good use. I had one of their speciality cocktails to start, the subtly-sweet yet with-a-kick Lychee Martini which was absolutely delicious. I'm not usually much of a cocktail drinker, primarily because the sugar loaded concoctions that a lot of venues dish up end up leaving me with a pounding head and a severe case of 'the fear' the next morning. I was very pleasantly surprised with the taste explosion that was the Lychee Martini however and would've happily enjoyed another if it wasn't for the fact that I probably wouldn't have been able to walk home after (their measures err on the side of generosity). They also have a nice selection of non-alcoholic beverages and cocktails for the non-drinkers such as the Virgin Hakka or the Coco Passion. Whilst at the bar we nibbled on the incredibly juicy and tasty fig-size green Italian olives and some perfectly toasted pistachios.
We were escorted outside to the Hakkasan Terrace at about 8.30pm. There were a few other guests there, but we had a partition separating us, so it felt like it was just the two of us outside – ideal if you just want to escape the hustle and bustle of Dubai, the relaxed atmosphere of the bar definitely transcended outdoors to the Terrace. The dark wooded Terrace itself is surrounded by trees and low lighting and the garden-style seating outside is perfect for cosying up on. Although there was music quietly humming in the background, the Terrace is a lot more peaceful than inside the restaurant and provides the perfect environment for closing your eyes, putting your head back and inhaling the delicious scents of the grape juice options they have on their drinks menu. I had moved on to the Malbec 'Finca La Linda' at this point which was crisp, sweet and warmed me up from the winter evening.
The Terrace Menu
Quite frankly, we were blown away with the Terrace menu, which differs from the restaurant menu inside. It consists of 'small eats', perfect for a small dinner or a few nibbles with friends: baby octopus in honey glazed sauce, chilli and pepper golden pumpkin, crispy prawn fritter with truffle, hakka steamed dim sum platter, chicken skewers with satay sauce. Depending on your hunger level, for two people, you'd need a minimum of two dishes but we'd recommend three or four unless you're feeling particularly extravagant in which case order them all. They're all that good.
The Highlight: Jasmine Tea Smoked Wagyu Beef Ribs
These were hands down, the tastiest bites we've had since we came to Dubai, a year ago (this week!). The succulent sticky-sweet beef melted in your mouth, and although you may not think it, the light flavour of the jasmine tea perfectly complimented the full and rich flavour of the beef and gave it a bit of an exotic twist. Wow.
The Important Bits
You need to be careful with this delicious menu, it's quite easy for you forget about the prices (the food is that good you may not even care) and before you know it, you've racked up a pretty hefty bill.
For the the cocktails you can expect to pay around AED 70 and for a glass of vino anywhere between AED 50 – AED 70 depending on what you choose.
The sides range from AED 55 – AED 75. So, for two people, treating themselves to a drink of some sort and some nibbles you can expect to pay at least AED 300.
For more info, click here.