Golden Week may be a major celebration in China but in recent years the break has fired up foreign cities too, including London, with many top restaurants putting together special menus and events to mark the occasion.
This year, Hakkasan Mayfair and Hakkasan Fitzrovia will pit two culinary superstars together from September 25 to October 22: the restaurant’s own Tong Chee Hwee – who has worked at the Michelin-starred modern Cantonese eatery since its inception in 2001 – and Dabiz Muñoz, the “enfant terrible of Spanish gastronomy” and triple-Michelin-starred owner of Mayfair’s StreetXO.
The pair’s visually arresting 11-dish set menu (£88 per person) will put a Spanish twist on some Hakkasan classics. The starters, for example, will include Peking duck wrapped in a beetroot pancake with lychee and rose; a hot and sour soup infused with foie gras; a Spanish tortilla dim sum with truffle and quail egg; and a lamb dumpling with a dose of chocolate and mint.
Grilled octopus in tomatillo ketchup and sha cha sauce heads up the mains, backed up by stir-fried ribeye beef that is given surprising new elements of texture, courtesy of gnocchi and lily bulb. Another Hakkasan favourite is the Chinese black laksa, here prepared with seabass, reinventing a Hakkasan favourite, while crispy egg fried rice is prepared in three different paprika-spiced ways.
The dessert highlight is the zingy naranja cheng (whose name means “orange”, first in Spanish, then in Chinese). Flavoured with citrus, Pedro Ximénez sherry and tarragon, it clearly bears the mark of Muñoz’s cuisine, yet unexpectedly the Spanish chef also cites Hakkasan as an early influence on his cooking, saying that when he first arrived in London from Madrid, “I had one meal at Hakkasan and it was a revelation. I knew I had to work there.”
Finally, no Hakkasan experience is complete without one of its famous cocktails, and the Oriental Frontera (£13.50) has been created especially for Golden Week. A blend of Belvedere vodka and plum sauce-infused fino sherry, it brings out the sweet and sour accents in Hakkasan’s dishes – the only problem is trying to stick to just one glass…