Brunch Review: Hakka Brunch, Hakkasan
Anyone who has ever heard of Hakkasan knows it to be VIP. A fave haunt of celebrities, the Cantonese restaurant was founded in London and has since multiplied, with several of the branches winning Michelin stars for their excellence. Needless to say we are excited to attend the Dubai branch.
We arrive at the venue at midday and are immediately taken into the main bar area. We take beverages from the waiting sta and ask about the seating arrangements. The maître d’ tells us we can sit anywhere, so we select a corner booth to fit our party of five. The restaurant is busy, but not heaving. A single bowl of prawn crackers sits in the middle of the table. We’re hungry, having skipped brekkie to be sure to really enjoy brunch.
We wait for the appetiser of roast duck pancakes to arrive. And we wait. And wait. The bowl of crackers is but a mere memory. We speak to a total of eight members of sta , who all seem confused. After an hour and a half without a morsel of food, the duck finally arrives. And we sort-of wish it hadn’t. For a party of five (hungry) guests, four small squares of duck sit on a plate accompanied by limp Post-It-sized pancake squares. No sauce.
We laugh because surely this can’t be right. We ask a waiter if there is any more coming. ‘No,’ he tells us, looking surprised, ‘this is it.’ Hmm. We begin to construct tiny hamster- sized rolls. The meat is greasy and unappetising. Again, we complain.
After about 15 minutes a waiter appears with a plate of ready-rolled duck pancakes. They’re marginally better but still dry. Where is the hoisin sauce? Once the duck is finished the next two courses arrive, together.
Rubbery seafood dumplings, again, minus dipping sauce. We politely request soy sauce. It takes so long to arrive that by the time it does we have nothing left but our fingers to dip into it.
The rest is equally as disappointing. Crispy octopus (scant and tasteless), Wagyu beef puffs (far too sweet) and a baked venison puffs (oily). The green curry is decent, with fat prawns and a little spice but the portion is teeny. The chicken dish is uninspired and too sweet. One thing we do have in abundance is white rice. Bowls and bowls of the stuff keep arriving until we have to tell the waiter to stop. Surely the desserts can’t be bad, right? Wrong.
We nibble on what looks like a chocolate square but stop after a tiny bite. Careless service, and we leave hungry.