Restaurant Review: Hukama
Hukama at The Address Downtown Dubai makes an impact on entry, way before the food even comes into play. The décor is impressive with its moody, red tones, an abundance of wood and glossy dark floors. The interior design evokes elements of bygone Chinese dynasties. There’s a gold-coloured gong in the private dining area, but it manages to stay on the right side of sophisticated, rather than veer off into tacky Kung Fu movie territory. The double-volume space is sectioned with tall room dividers that add a modern geometric look, and the stunning lighting – which is seen throughout the hotel – is the restaurant’s crowning glory. But we’re not just here to look around; we’re here to eat.
At the culinary helm is Chef de Cuisine Chang See Loy, affectionately known as Chef Roy. Chinese by birth, Chef Roy grew up in Singapore and cut his teeth working in Chinese restaurants on the streets and in the hotels of Singapore. Wanting to expand his knowledge of Indochina dishes, Chef Roy travelled to Bali and worked in the Shangri-La Hotel for two years as Assistant Chef, specialising in Chinese cusine. He then returned to Singapore and opened his own eatery – Ju Xiang Restaurant – serving authentic and modern Chinese and Singaporean dishes.
Here at Hukama, his focus is traditional Cantonese food. Cantonese cooking was the first to make it across from the region around Guangzhou into the US and beyond, and we’re very grateful it did. The cooking style of of the Canton region celebrates the freshness and natural flavours of the ingredients, and is considered to be China’s haute cuisine. Hukama’s refined and delicately balanced dishes are testament to this. Adding credence to Hukama’s authenticity, eight of the outlet’s 10 chefs are from China.
Chef Roy explains that the food is all about fresh, seasonal produce, a lot of seafood and is not spicy like its Szechuan counterpart. The ingredients for Hukama are sourced from a variety of locations, including lobsters from Canada, vegetables flown in from China and ducks from Malaysia. It also doesn’t get much fresher than the live fish and lobsters available from the kitchen’s fish tanks. Hukama’s menu changes every six to eight months in line with what’s in season, but there are some staple signature dishes that diners keep coming back for. Gourmet gets the inside scoop on Chef Roy’s fine dining Cantonese favourites.