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goldilocks76 | Dec 14, 2013 02:43 AM

Run by an ex-Hakkassan chef, HKK feels like something out of the Alan Yau stable (although, as far as I know, it isn’t) but with friendlier and more knowledgable staff.

In the evening, they have a set menu with a series of small portions of well sourced ingredients, such as a dim sum containing poulet de bresse. Tea smoked wagyu beef was a high point. It had a lovely taste of jasmine and was served on Japanese yam, which turned out to have texture of apple with a floral flavour. A lovely combination.

The Peking duck may well be best in London—it’s certainly better than Min Jiang—with a very moist, crisp skin. However, it was a bit fatty and I had to discretely remove a couple of indigestible bits if fat from my mouth.

In general, the kitchen performed very well with the parts of the meal that required high technical skill, but the low skill parts did not wow. I’ve had better mooli cakes at less high class places and the lotus leaf rice was not particularly fragrant.

They serve tea in the middle of the meal—it felt a bit like Heston's conceit of serving breakfast at dinner—but the tea was very tasty and it showed that they know how to brew tea properly, with some artistic license for presentation. (The tea was served in in a cup that, in HK, would have been the brewing implement, from which tea is poured into a smaller cup.)

The desserts were good but disappointingly European. I'm not asking for boiled egg in sweet tea here. There are surely many Chinese deserts that would appeal to European palettes e.g. Coconut milk with sago and pomelo or good old Portuguese influenced custard tarts.

We enjoyed HKK but weren’t so impressed that we’ll be returning in a hurry.

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