When I visited: July 2013
Location: London, near Liverpool Street
Team: Tong Chee Hwee (Head Chef), Miguel Hernandez (Head Sommelier)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not in Guide (used to have 1 star)
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress / workwear
Ambience: Light, clean, friendly
Course of the meal: Cherry wood roasted Peking duck
If I could change one thing: Bigger space
This is the sister restaurant of Hakkasan and at the time of my visit it was the more ‘casual’ choice, merely recommended in the Michelin Guide rather than reaching the heights of a star like Hakkasan. Now, HKK has its own star and based on what I saw, it probably deserves it. It manages to be light and fun, with friendly staff, while still giving you great-quality Chinese food.
I went with my partner Owl for dinner after work. We selected a fresh white wine (Viognier Yauatcha 2011) to accompany the food. In great Japanese tradition, we began with a Bai hua prawn and dim sum trilogy before moving on to cherry wood roasted Peking duck. The sumptuous meat continued with Poulet de Bresse with ginseng soup and silken bean curd, before a vegetable-based palate cleanser of asparagus, shimeji mushroom and lily blub in XO sauce. The last ‘main’ course was jasmine tea-smoked Wagyu beef with water chestnut. Readers will know from my other reviews (Steve Wynn Steakhouse, M, MASH ) that I love Kobe beef and Wagyu is another great choice if you have the money. The ‘dessert’ section of the meal consisted of mandarin jelly with pandan sorbet and jasmine meringue, followed by pineapple fritter, salted lime jelly and vanilla ice cream … delicious and refreshing, especially on a summer’s evening.
HKK is well worth a visit if you are into good-quality Chinese food and its location makes it a good after-work choice for City-based diners.