Trendy Chinese restaurant has good food but lacks personality Reviews

Meal Deal
Friday Brunch

Serves a variety of dim sum, in addition to two main course and three desserts. Dhs199 (unlimited teas), Dhs398 (mixed drinks), Dhs558 (bubbly) Timings: Noon-4pm (Friday)

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Hakkasan’s arrival in Dubai adds yet another name to the city’s ever-expanding inventory of glittering restaurants. If you detect a hint of cynicism, I’m sorry. I’m grateful that these big names are being exported to my doorstep, because flying back to Hanway Place in London for an 8pm booking is, quite frankly, ridiculous. So why am I not more excited? Is it the food? Not at all – I’ve just finished a very satisfactory meal. The decor, then? No, the tried-and-tested contemporary Chinese chic of the restaurant looks fantastic.

‘Tried and tested’, you say? Maybe this is it. Hakkasan Dubai looks nearly identical to Hakkasan Abu Dhabi and, dare I say, very similar to the other five Hakkasans currently in operation around the globe. Yes, there are three times as many Nobu restaurants in the world, many more Ramsay restaurants, a handful more Rhodes restaurants, and so on and so forth, yet from my experience it seems that Hakkasan lacks the variation from restaurant to restaurant enjoyed at these other high-end franchises.

This isn’t a problem, it’s simply an observation, and people who know what they like and like what they know will love Hakkasan. In many respects, I am one such person, which is why my date and I ordered the
dim sum platter, featuring six pretty parcels of plump scallop shumai, prawn with chives, and black pepper duck (as long as these heavenly Hakka gems keep coming out of the kitchen, I don’t care if there’s a Hakkasan on every street corner). There followed a flurry of dishes – squat baby bok choi with a light showering of oyster sauce (too many Chinese restaurants feel the need to drown dishes with the stuff);
a clay pot bubbling with gently braised tofu, aubergine and slender shiitake mushrooms bathed in light chilli black-bean sauce; and another clay pot brimming with fat prawns and scallops. We had also ordered the stir-fried ostrich out of curiosity. How and why an ostrich was unlucky enough to find its way onto a Chinese menu is beyond me (the Asian ostrich became extinct around 10,000 years ago), but while the lean, chewy meat was interesting, it was ultimately unexciting. It’ll teach me not to veer away from the ‘tried-and-tested’ Hakkasan favourites.

By the time we’d licked every last plate and clay pot clean, I noticed that our mild-mannered waitress had become marginally less attentive now that the restaurant was beginning to fill up with sharp suits and short skirts. This isn’t to say the service at Hakkasan is bad, it just lacks the charisma of The Ivy or the attentiveness of newly-opened Gaucho. But the biggest surprise came at the end of the night, when I decided to take a look outside, only to discover the marvellous terrace divided by Ming-style partition walls and lined with comfortable sofas and low tables. When I booked my table, I hadn’t been offered the option of sitting outside. Perhaps the al-fresco tables were all booked that evening, but even if this was the case, the terrace should have still been brought to my attention one way or another, because it’s the highlight of Hakkasan Dubai – the one surprise of an otherwise unsurprising dining experience, and one that sets this restaurant apart from the rest of the Hakkasan empire.

The bill (for two)
1x Sparkling water
1x Dim sum platter Dhs95
1x Tofu claypot Dhs55
1x Seafood toban Dhs120
1x Stir-fry ostrich Dhs185
1x Jasmine rice Dhs15
1x Pak choi Dhs40
1x Chocolate pavi Dhs45
Total (including 10% tax and 10% service charge) Dhs708

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 384 8484
  • Travel: Emirates Boulevard
  • Website | Send mail

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User reviews


User reviews:

Posted by: Dr. Raji Mathew on 15 Aug ' 13 at 13:00
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Tucked away in one corner, the restaurant is is partitioned into different sections, like the lounge, party area with a bar, private dining areas, the regular bar which is very long and well stoked and the wine cellar. The outside seating was closed owing to the hot weather. I was very kindly taken all around the restaurant after I had ordered for the set lunch menu. Also ordered for the scallop shumai from the regular menu.
The food was fresh and served steaming hot. The taste was good but not outstanding. The location is impressive and the ambience is good and the food going by the regular menu, well, pricey.
Set lunch AED 120
Scallop shumai AED 45
Voss AED 28. Total with tax AED 231.

Posted by: Aaron Blanchard on 06 Oct ' 12 at 10:55
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Hakkasan is one of my favourite restaurant in Dubai, i have been there on a few occasions and always have received the best service this city can get(amazing!!!), incredible food, great atmosphere,...it is not coming cheap, but if you compare to the other big restaurants in the city it is good value, the non-smoking policy in the main restaurant is a plus, they have the most fantastic Terrace in town.
Food wise, the Dim Sums are succulent, my favourites "Starters" are Crispy Duck Salad, Wagyu Beef Ribs, Salt and Pepper Squid, Grilled Shanghai Dumplings,...name it.
For the main courses, you would die for the Chilean Seabass and Chinese Honey, most of their Duck dishes,...
Great desserts, well-matched with pudding wines or Spirits. their drink list in the Bar is amazing and their wine list the best in Dubai for sure.
i wanted to react to the above reviews as they are very harsh on this special place.
you should give it a try and get converted!

Posted by: onaiza khatri on 20 Jun ' 12 at 09:31
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

We were in a group of 8 ladies who went to the restaurant for lunch, the food was below average,the soup we ordered was passe, and the vegetarian soup was with a peculiar unpleasant smell to it.
The Spicy thai prawns were doused with coconut cream and very little commercial thai curry paste,with no flavor of anything in particular, all that we were tasting was creme and blob. The taste of the prawns was just not there,the fried rice we had ordered was glutinous mass of oil,dark soya sauce and no vegetables at all.The chicken was in a claypot again
with an overpowering five spice flavor. We were really disappointed with
the food.The service was okay.

Posted by: abu Yosuf on 26 Jan ' 12 at 12:12

My wife took me there for lunch, and the food was delightful.
Prices are about twice what we would pay in Vancouver for the same quality. Staff well outnumbered the diners at lunch.
It seemed very odd to me that menu prices DID NOT include tax and service, which has been the norm in Dubai for some time. When I mentioned it to a guy in a tie (floor manager or captain maybe?) he did what I don't like - he told me I was wrong and started arguing with me. That is NOT what I expect at this price point. We rarely dine at Jumeirah establishments as there always seems to be a spoiler. Oh well!

Posted by: Luca on 13 Dec ' 11 at 17:48
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I went to Hakkasan on my birthday and I have to say that as all the standing alone resrtaurant in Dubai, Hakkasan is not an exception that is amazing,
truly expensive but worth every single penny.
The dim sum platter is a must and the duck with foie gras is an ultimate experience for an Chinese restaurant.
Service is attentive and sure still need to improve with time.
Please book the terrazza because you will feel to dine somewherelse than in Dubai.

Posted by: Aditya Rajaram on 25 Nov ' 11 at 08:37

For all you Hakkasan London lovers, this is your home away from home....sort of. I have been to the Hakkasan in London (both of them) twice. I have always had an OKAY experience at both of them because they are always crowded and remind me of TAO in Las Vegas. The food, is on and off where some days it is fantastic and some days, you're lucky if the order is right. Well, Hakkasan Dubai has seemed to carry on this tradition.

I went to Hakkasan Dubai with family and friends, a table of 8. I have always held the restaurant, regardless of its shortcomings, in high regard because of...well..it being Hakkasan. I waited at the bar which I must say is very nicely lit, the bar snacks (amazing olives!) were great. I ordered a glass of Ruinart. I was served promptly and my snacks kept getting refilled, I was happy! Then came dinner...

We were served by an extremely competent host, Neville. Neville and his entourage looked after us as best as possible. I say this because the minute we got to the dinner table, the service dropped. Courtesy was still extended but things just did not go right, my refill took atleast 20 minutes after I asked 3 people, when we asked for Yamazaki 18 they said yes and then they said no, when we said no ice in the Chivas 18 they put their signature ice block in it. On to dinner and the ladies' soups were all messed up. They had asked for some soup with shrimp and they got a lobster soup, both ladies! Being in the industry, I expect exemplary food displays from Hakkasan. I was thoroughly disappointed. The 4 vegetable dish looked like someone yacked it out on a plate with no garnish. The sea bass was amazing but also looked naked and lonely and tasted worse as people started for their seconds. Lastly, the chicken tried to make amends to a very average dinner but it was too little to late.

So, I hoped for a fight back from dessert. We must have ordered about 5 desserts to share amongst 8 ppl and this I highly suggest since no one feels like a fatty and still you get to try everything! They even had my favourite dessert wine the Muscato di'Asti!! This I gave them full marks for as I did for amazing dessert. Every dish from the cakes to the sorbet was amazing.

We ended the night by retiring temporarily to the cigar lounge which had an equally well stocked bar. This made the men in the group very happy. The service stayed good as we were looked after to till the very end.

All in all I give the Hakkasan a B. For the Emirates Towers which boasts of restaurants from The Ivy to Vu's, they need to step up their game. However, if Hakkasan is quite happy being the restaurant where people come just to be seen and dont really care about service and food then for now, they are safe.

I have faith in this restaurant, it is new and its just oiling its wheels. I will give it another shot in a month or so.

Aditya Rajaram

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