HKK (1*) – Chinese Fine Dining – London
Amongst the office buildings between Old Street and Liverpool Street lies a building very much hiding its Michelin starred credentials within. HKK is owned by the Hakkasan group which includes Yauatcha, Sake no Hana, as well as a number of restaurants eponymously named. The look is simple and understated with clean lines dominating the counter service section as well as main dining room. There are number of tasting menus lunch or evening with an a la carte offering always present too. I had lunch with a friend who chose the 4 course seafood lunch menu; myself a meat version, both priced £28.50.
The first course ‘Crispy Duck Salad’, failed only by one regard; in overshadowing the next 3 courses. A dish so simple, the duck as moist in parts and as crispy in others as you could ever hope. The hoisin as pungent, salty and sticky as I could imagine. The leaves and balls of melon serving as a good foil to the rich game of the meat.
A chicken truffle broth then appeared, a pleasant warming bowl but without the depth of flavour I expected that left me a little underwhelmed after the fireworks of the duck. Jasmine tea smoked Wagyu beef with egg rice got things back on track. The beef slow cooked, the smoky tea pervading the marbled meat. The rice almost eclipsed the meat itself, sculpted into a tear drop the egg-fried grains the best example of their kind. A lack of lubrication the only real criticism here.
A pretty dessert followed, mounds of salted cashews complimenting a neutral milk parfait. A yuzu sorbet was silky smooth, its citrus flavour cutting through the sodium laden nuts. The questionable addition of rather dull chocolate disc aside the dish provided a light finish to a rich meal balancing the menu well.
HKK gave me a combination of the accomplished and the excellent, ultimately a very good value lunch and somewhere I’d gladly return to…especially since the discovery of a duck tasting menu!
Restaurant website: http://hkklondon.com/