Among the plethora of great restaurants Jakartans now have to choose from, the opening of Hakkasan in February this year heralded an elevated tier of fine dining. Previously overlooked by the big players of the culinary world Jakarta is now the new frontier for internationally acclaimed restaurants to plant their breadstick, or in Hakkasan’s case, chopstick!
Situated on the 25th floor of the Alila Hotel in Jakarta’s SCBD the planning and construction of Hakkasan was done with much secrecy so as not to spoil the surprise of its unveiling to the public at large. I don’t like to brag, much, but I was among the first to be given a sneak peek at its interiors back in January and was impressed by the restrained opulence and attention to detail at every glance. From the beautifully hand embroidered butterflies on the leather upholstery to every custom-made detail, it oozed refined good taste from every pore. Designed by a famed French studio in Paris, the cost was mentioned but I found it too staggering to believe.
A background check revealed that the Hakkasan group was initially launched in London by Wagamama founder Alan Yau and Syra Khan in 2001. Awarded its first Michelin star in 2003 Hakkasan has since opened international branches in Miami, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi, Beverly Hills, Shanghai, Dubai and Doha.
Its world renowned cuisine is French Cantonese with every restaurant creating its own signature dishes inspired by the local flavours and ingredients of its resident country.
Not to brag, again, but I was among those invited to sample this haute cuisine during their week long pre-opening private lunches and dinners. I decided to join for dinner and began the evening at the GM’s suggestion with an aperitif at the bar. The signature Hakkatini for me while my husband ordered the Smoky Negroni. Both were expertly made with flourish and aplomb by our friendly, pleasantly chatty barman as we sat and surveyed the room and the view beyond of Jakarta’s twinkling cityscape. While I enjoyed my Hakkatini I also sampled my husband’s Negroni which has since sparked a love of this century old cocktail. My 20 year old half bottle of Campari previously languishing in the back of the drinks cabinet is now empty, the last of it in the Negroni I am enjoying as I write this review. But I digress.
While sitting at the bar I recall thinking to myself what a pleasant interlude it is indeed to sip a cocktail among the chatter of fellow diners and the muted clatter of ice cubes in shakers before making our way to the dining room.
Once seated at our table the wait staff continued to impress with their friendly, efficient service and anticipation of all our needs. After much angst over what to order,as it all looked so good, I started with the Supreme Dim Sum Platter followed by the Roasted silver Cod with Champagne and honey. Each dim sum was a different colour, notably one was black with gold flakes, and the different flavours included lobster and truffle. All were beautifully presented on the plate and every morsel perfection. The cod came next and was a symphony of delicately roasted fish encased within a caramelised honey and champagne crust—truly exquisite.
My husband ordered the Pan Seared Shanghai Dumplings followed by Sanpei Chicken claypot. He obviously enjoyed his choice as his I-phone remained untouched, dare I say even forgotten during the entire meal.
To finish off we treated ourselves to the Chocolate Peanut. The simple name for this dessert in no way captures the piece of art that was brought to our table but at the same time describes it exactly. Two halves of a molded peanut shell the size of a soft drink can made out of fine chocolate and upon opening contained a pool of caramel peanut sauce. Just divine.
Since opening its doors on 8 February Hakkasan has hit the ground running and has not drawn breath since. Quite often fully booked I was disappointed we could not get a table on Valentine’s Day. However I am very fortunate to be on the council of the Jakarta Chaine des Rotisseurs, an international gastronomic society that seeks out the best food and wine on offer around the world and on my recommendation a dinner for 25 of our members was organised soon after my sampling of its cuisine. Hakkasan did not disappoint and I must thank GM Jean Pitton, GM Philippe Loiseau, Chef Sky Wong and their culinary team for going above and beyond in producing a 6 course wine pairing dinner for our discerning foodies.
It is no wonder Hakkasan was added to the Tatler list of top 40 fine dining restaurants within 2 months of its opening. Congratulations on this well deserved accolade!
Alila SCBD Lot 11
Jalan Jend Sudirman, Kavling 52-53, Jakarta
Text by Michelle Somerville. This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine May 2019 issue “Kids, Family, and Education”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.