Review: Ramadan evenings at Hakkasan, Dubai

The upmarket restaurant in Dubai’s Emirates Towers is renowned for its authentic yet modern Chinese cuisine.

The upmarket restaurant in Dubai’s Emirates Towers – Hakkasan now has 12 other outposts across the world – is renowned for its authentic yet modern Chinese cuisine.

During Ramadan, it is offering a three-course set menu available after iftar, combining its best-selling dishes with traditional Arab favourites such as date juice, laban and an exotic tower of dried fruits, nuts and baklava.

On the night of our visit, the restaurant exudes its customary relaxed opulence, with low lighting and a calm vibe.

For those who have never been to Hakkasan, its seating booths are a treat, with tables secluded from other diners with skilfully carved wooden screens.

A cool blue-lit bar runs down the entire length of the restaurant space with access to a stunning Asian-style garden, sadly closed to guests during the summer months.

My guest and I begin our meal with a traditional Chinese soup: smooth and salty and with a melt-in-the-mouth portion of white seabass resting on top.

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Next comes the crispy duck salad – rough-torn pieces of slow-cooked duck tossed in a piqant green salad with hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds. Our waiter dresses the salad at our table, giving us the full range of delicious flavours and textures.

Our ‘Hakka’ steamed dim sum platter arrives – a mouthwatering selection of the chef’s most popular dim sum: scallop, prawn, duck and black pepper, and chicken. The dim sum pieces were slightly too big to savour, but they were delicious.

By this point we are ready for a breather and relax at the bar with a Ramadan-inspired mocktail – a sweet date juice infused with lychee and coconut water.

My guest has qamar din, a traditional Arabic apricot drink, and there are other options on the drinks menu, such as Middle Eastern jallab, a fruit syrup made from carob, dates, grape molasses and rose water.

The main course includes three dishes: wok-fried Assam prawn with okra, Cantonese spicy chicken with rice, and stir-fried lily bulb and garlic shoot.

The huge tiger prawns are succulent after soaking in a rich coconut and chili broth; the lily bulb vegetable dish is tasty and refreshing, and the chicken is cooked to perfection.

As delicious as it is, we are too full to eat it all and take another breather before devouring a tangy mandarin mousse with almond nougatine, and picking at the contents of the ornate tower of dates, apricots, chocolate and other Arabic sweets, while we summon up the will to leave this lovely restaurant.

The Ramadan set menu is served at both Hakkasan Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for the duration of the holy month.

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