A Take on Cantonese at Hakkasan

by Ayu Swasti Amandari
1st March 2019
Michelin-starred restaurant Hakkasan has arrived in Jakarta with masterful take on contemporary Cantonese cuisine while nesting atop the Alila SCBD Jakarta hotel with a view to boot.

Amongst food epicureans, the name Hakkasan wouldn’t go unnoticed. It has eleven restaurants worldwide across Europe, United States and the Middle East that specialises in Cantonese-inspired fine-dining cuisine. Since 2003, Hakkasan’s prime locations in Mayfair and Hanway Place in London has consistently won numerous awards, including the prestigious Michelin Star.

Hakkasan is now venturing out to South East Asia to welcome its first restaurant in the region by settling in Jakarta’s Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD). “Jakarta is one of the biggest city in South East Asia with a population of twenty-three million, a fast-growing economy and a young and dynamic demographic. It’s an ideal place to open Hakkasan,” said Hakkasan Jakarta’s General Manager, Jean Pittion.

Hakkasan Jakarta sits sky high on the 25th floor of Alila SCBD Jakarta hotel. The establishment overlooks the vibrant metropolis hub of the business district for those looking to dine with a view. Like its siblings across the world, Hakkasan Jakarta is designed by Paris-based design company GBRH, where the interior features signature eye-catching blue and latticework that pervade the posh restaurant in Jakarta

But of course, it’s their award-winning dishes that resulted in Hakkasan being fully booked on numerous occasions. The restaurant in Jakarta is led by Chef De Cuisine, Sky Wong Kum Choy, who joined the Hakkasan group in 2012. Previously, Chef Sky served as the Executive Sous Chef at Hakkasan Dubai and trained at Hakkasan London to deliver “Cantonese [cuisine] with modern presentation.”

During the week, expect to find the room filled with socialites as well as business partners and expatriates engaging in a warm conversation during lunchtime over delectable meals that are meant for sharing. The weekends, however, are usually frequented by family for special occasions and couple looking for a romantic date night.

Though the menu spoils diners with a long list of choices, be sure to savour some of Hakkasan’s signature dishes. To wit, the Crispy Duck Salad is a refreshing way to start off your meal, where deep-fried duck is tossed together with greens, pine nuts, shallots and pomelo. There’s also the mandatory Supreme Dim Sum Platter, complete with scallop siu mai (Chinese dumpling), truffle har gau (shrimp dumpling), and gold-crusted seabass dumplings.

Apart from its impeccable taste, Hakkasan also impresses with meticulous presentations. For example, aromatic smoke is enclosed under a cloche, before being lifted to reveal the succulent Jasmine Tea Smoked Beef Rib. The theatrical presentation of the latter easily draws attention from nearby tables. Elsewhere, their seafood options are also worth mentioning. Take the delicate Spicy Prawn that comes with with flavourful curry sauce or the Roasted Silver Cod paired with champagne honey sauce for subtle hint of sweetness that works well for special occasions or casual lunch with friends.

Equally not to be missed are the selections exclusive to Hakkasan Jakarta. “We’ve created an ‘Only at Jakarta’ menu using local ingredients and products”, said Chef Sky. “We employ traditional Cantonese cooking technique, but remain modern by using ingredients from different parts of the world,” added Jean. As such, the Crispy Quail Egg Puff is another highly recommended dish for its oozing runny egg yolk as well as the Steamed Grouper from Kalimantan that’s topped with sambal sauce.

Dessert wise, Hakkasan whipped up their own version of the humble Es Teler that easily appeals to diners from young to old. And though not everyone is a fan of durian, The Black Swan Puff, shaped in delicate black swans just as the name suggests, with Musang King durian cream filling may convince you to give it another try.

Hakkasan is definitely one of those restaurants where its reputation precedes it. Hence it won’t take much persuasion to convince you for a visit. But putting its hype and reputation aside, one should definitely give Hakkasan a try simply for their masterful take on Cantonese cuisine and you’ll grasp why Hakkasan is a darling among food enthusiasts worldwide.