Ling Ling Mykonos

Ling Ling Mykonos aka ‘Hakkasan’s naughty little sister’ twists the Hakkasan DNA ever so slightly to create a whole new and fun concept to dining with culinary excellence and playful decadence. Located in the centre of the old town, the open-air restaurant and bar will be warming up for the season, perfecting and honing its menus ready for its grand opening in June. It will be open daily for dinner throughout the summer season. 

Drawing inspiration from the Izakaya concept made popular in the East, where food accompanies the drinks and not the other way around, Ling Ling takes the Hakkasan DNA and twists it to create a restaurant and bar experience that reflects its environment but has signature elements from Hakkasan. With reinvented presentations of smaller plates, Ling Ling encourages guests to discover Hakkasan’s cuisine differently, with the opportunity to share and try a variety of the Cantonese-style dishes. Cocktails are at the heart of the experience, offering intriguing and evolving menus curated by the award-winning team in London. The sound design is mastered and perfected by Hakkasan resident DJ in London, Pathaan, bringing eclectic, masterfully crafted playlists to Ling Lings across the world.

Ling Ling in Mykonos is located at Malamatenias Street, Matogiannia, Mykonos. For more information, please visit Ling Ling Mykonos or discover on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Hakkasan, Las Vegas

If you walk through the doors of a Hakkasan restaurant, anywhere in the world, you are guaranteed a great meal. The Hakkasan group of fine dining restaurants in London is renowned for serving the best Cantonese cuisine in the city. The branch in Las Vegas, however, is best known for its exclusive nightclub, but it was the food and service that made this place special for me.

We were greeted by a group of welcoming staff, who helped us navigate our way through the dimly-lit maze of tables. After a glass of fine Louis Roederer champagne we started looking through the extensive and luxurious menu. Though I recognised several dishes from the London eatery, there were a range of unique new recipes to try.

If you feel like something fun and fabulous, you are in Vegas after all, order one of the ‘Only in Vegas’ cocktails, more specifically the ‘Buddha’s Palm’ – a mix of Buffalo Trace bourbon, Velvet Falernum, yuzu juice, yuzu marmalade, black grapes, white balsamic vinegar, mint – it has a vibrant and exciting taste. The black grapes offer a particularly interesting flavour, a rare and unusual fruit that I had never tried before.

Our waiter highly recommended the signature Crispy duck salad with pomelo, pomegranate and pine nut, and I would agree it is a must. The neat stack of leaves and crispy duck meat was delicious enough, but the addition of the red jewel pomegranate and toasted pinenuts created an irresistible texture and balance of sweet and salty flavours. I also loved the Hakka steamed dim sum platter, a basket of beautifully made coloured dumplings, each filled with a different delicious delicacy of vegetables, fish or meat.

For main course we chose the Roasted chicken with satay sauce, Stir-fry black pepper beef ribeye with merlot, Pak choi with garlic sauce and Steamed jasmine rice. Portions are generous and the food is rich, but it is so tasty we couldn’t resist finishing the feast on our table. My favourite was the decadent Hakkasan classic stir-fry, high quality beef cooked in a sophisticated red wine sauce. The dish is artistically presented in a crispy rice shell, which you can eat if you’re still peckish. The roasted chicken is a simpler dish but equally well executed and served with a creamy, moreish peanut sauce.

We tried a trio of exquisite deserts, all new to the menu. Prepared with great precision by the pastry chef, they looked almost too beautiful to eat. The highlight was the Sicilian pistachio semi-freddo with violet crème, yoghurt meringue and cassis sorbet. It is a light and palate-cleansing final course, with an exciting range of flavours and textures.

After our meal we were lucky to have a sneak preview of the fashionable 3-level Hakkasan Nightclub, with its oversized VVIP booths and epic dancefloors that play host to the world’s biggest DJs. It is one of the most popular party spots in Vegas, but for me the magic of Hakkasan is still down to its faultless food and thoughtful service.

More information on Hakkasan Las Vegas here.

Chinese New Year at Hakkasan, Hanway Place

Hakkasan has been on my ‘desperate to try’ list for a while and their special Chinese New Year menu seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit this renowned eatery. This modern Michelin star awarded restaurant is one of the most successful ventures from famous restaurateur Alan Yau. He opened Hakkasan Hanway Place in 2001, and has since opened a further eleven branches around the world. Executive Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee has remained at the Hanway Place kitchen since opening creating contemporary Cantonese cuisine.

Hidden around an unremarkable corner near Tottenham Court Road, the glamorous venue is dark and mysterious with stone steps leading to a regal red and black dining room. I immediately felt engulfed by the exoticism. We passed by hanging red tags annotated with guests wishes for the year ahead and sat at a quiet table.

The special New Year menu at Hakkasan features some of the restaurant’s signature dishes alongside some new creations. Diners can choose from the a la carte selection or opt for the set menu which is priced at £88.88 per person. We started with a refreshing and bitter Kumquatcha cocktail made with a tropical mix including Germana cachaça, Campari, Kumquats and lime. It was tasty but with almost every mouthful I had to dodge fruit pips.

Many of the ingredients and details of the recipes are emblematic and relate to Chinese beliefs and traditions. The Dim sum platter was delicious, an assortment of light dumplings filled with syrupy sauces and finely chopped vegetables. They were delicious, despite the sometimes intriguing textures. Golden fried soft shell crab with red chilli and curry leaf was a favourite for my guest who hoovered it up in seconds. The impossibly light crab covered in crispy salty topping and fried fragrant curry leaves. I thought the Spicy lamb lupin wrap was the highlight: soft spicy lamb marinated in a heavenly array of spices and wrapped in a delicate skin.

The service was very efficient and within minutes our main courses and accompanying glasses of red wine arrived at the table. We were treated to a few off-menu dishes as well, due to my fussy fish requirements. The black pepper rib eye beef with merlot was a luxurious dish arranged ornately within circular rice cracker strands. The meat was wonderfully smooth and richly flavoured, stir-fried with spring onion. We also tried an extravagantly sticky sweet and sour crispy chicken and stir-fried lily bulb with garlic shoot, which tasted far too good to be a humble vegetable! The anomaly on the table was the duck and truffle dish, which seemed like it had been stolen from a French kitchen, though apparently the truffle is used regularly in Chinese cooking. It was immaculately cooked and seasoned but it tasted foreign compared with the rest of the meal.

Dessert was a perfectly petite taster of rich dark chocolate mousse with caramelised macadamia and kumquat. By this stage my tastebuds were tired of the sharp kumquat flavour, but the presentation of the dish was truly beautiful, replicating a fruit tree.

When I think of New Year in the UK several rather depressing things come to mind: waiting for fireworks in the rain, drunken revellers everywhere and hopeless empty resolutions. Chinese New Year however conjures up images of colour and celebration, dancing and feasting. A traditional annual festivity which is recognised and embraced all over the world.

After a cup of fresh mint tea, all that was left to do was scribble a wish down on a red tag and secure it to the wall. I left Hakkasan full of food and full of hope for the year ahead.

More information and book here: