A Michelin star restaurant that opened with great fanfare a while back and had been always on my list of visit; however given the fact wife and daughter are vegetarians and not too keen on authentic chinese and a couple of stories about service/communication aspects from friends meant that it was parked somewhere, but not really top of mind.

I rarely receive invites, but that is a story for another day, but last month received a personal invite from the CEO of a PR company inviting me to try out the new to be launched affordable afternoon buffet. A bit of back and forth, I finally decided to try it out, with couple of friends (met on twitter and now once a month Lunch buddies Gaurav Girish and Charanjeev ) landed up for lunch.

The entrance is quite simple to locate, however given the fact that the name is written on both sides, and valet standing under a tree chatting, found it difficult. Going in found that it is strategically located, given that the ground floor is ICICI bank and you would need to withdraw cash πŸ˜‰ to eat at Hakkasan.

The lady pointed us to the right lift and up we went, greeted there by Sameep Ved Guest Relations Manager, who asked us where we would like to sit and whether we would like to take a look around.

Having heard about the Hakkasan london offerings, I was pretty keen to take a turn around and as they say, learnt quite a lot – They do not have Indian Liquor and have some really rare ones also. The bar itself is worth a visit.

Taking a round, ended up where the open kitchen was and were lucky enough to find the chef, who was more than happy to confirm my old information (given to me by a chef in HongKong more than a decade earlier) that genuine chinese cooks/chefs use Wok that are heavy and with two handle usage compared to the newer generation of single handle flashiness (Hakkasan has all original imported woks, lovely they were) the next question was about the bamboo baskets – where did they buy them from? why did them smell in many ‘chinese’ restaurants? How did one use them? And bang on, mystery was revealed, now empowered to debate this πŸ˜‰

We returned to the Ling Ling area – there is a lovely story behind it, go visit and learn – settled down and decided to leave the ordering to Sameep and his team. They began with a drink, soft mostly, though I did taste a combination.

This were followed by Dim sum platter – the vegetarian crystal, chive and lotus were excellent as were the non veg ones. Was quite tempted to go for seconds, but decided to wait for the rest of the food.

This was followed by veg rolls, carrot cake which were excellent and stir fry beans which didn’t work for me but Gaurav was pretty pleased with it.

The chicken and fish were pretty neat and had just the light flavour which still allowed the taste. Girish tried and then finished the pork and beef, whilst Charanjeev and I stuck to chicken and fish.

I am not quite a rice eater and having been warned about the good desserts on offer, decided to just have a spoonful.

The desserts were tantalizing – blueberry sorbet with what looked like a blueberry cheesecake, the mango one and creme brulee was excellent as well. In fact, the desserts were demolished in double quick time so to speak.

All in all a good afternoon spent with friends, good food and surprisingly, whilst the set buffet has been made quite affordable at Rs. 1200++ the regular menu also is pretty good and not prohibitively expensive.

Location: Bandra West
Meal: Lunch – Set Buffet
Food: 8/10
Service: 8.5/10

DISCLAIMER: This was an tasting invite with friends and hence could not be costed. The service was quite nice for a fine dine place, as expected.

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Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends