January can be a gruelling month - whether it's because of a new diet, dry January, resolutions you're trying to stick to or the tightening of purse strings after the Christmas period it can all seem a bit bleak. But there's still plenty to celebrate, especially with Chinese New Year round the corner. And my favourite Chinese restaurant, HKK, have got a pretty spectacular menu running from now until 11th February, aka The Emperor's Feast - a ten course tasting menu, with paired alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. Before I go on, I have to say that this is pricey (£98 for food plus £58 for alcoholic drinks pairing or £28 for the non-alcoholic), there's no escaping that, but my plus one who came with me on the review (and has been on a lot of reviews with me) said she thought this was the best value meal we've been to - so you get what you pay for, which in this case is food, service and a restaurant worthy of the Michelin star it holds.

So what do you get? The meal starts off with what they call a "punch". I've always classified punch as being a weaker kind of cocktail mix. Not this one! This one is made with Baijiu (a Chinese spirit coming in at 64% abv!) mixed with two types of rum (to dilute it!!) and lime.... It's punchy, warm and delicious and is served with a goji berry jelly that explodes in the mouth.

Each course is paired with a different drink so next up was a rosé sake. Such an interesting drink, which oddly I'd never come across, even on my sake tour of Japan last year. It's made in the same way as normal sake (fermentation of rice, mould, yeast and water) but red rice is added to give it its colour and a more nutty, rose flavour than it's clear and cloudy counterparts. The sake was paired with the most stunning plate of food - Emperor's Bite of Spring - a gold pancake that we wrapped around a lettuce leaf filled with sesame dressing and king crab with white truffle. Such fresh flavours and a great start to the meal.

Monk Jump Over the Wall was course two - a rich, unctuous (I hate that word but it's so right for this dish!) soup made from abalone, scallop, sea cucumber and ginseng, topped with goji berries, yam and flaked almonds. Not at all what I was expecting, but a delight. It was so thick and creamy it coated the mouth and tasted heavenly. I'm not going to mention all the pairings because we'd be here forever and if you go can try them yourself!

HKK dumplings are a firm favourite and this year's offering were the best I've had in four visits there. Touch of the Heart were a lobster and pickle Chinese leaves, a king crab with XO, and a sea bass and shrimp - my personal preference of the three, though it was a very close call. I still love the paintbrush for the soy sauce, even though the novelty should have worn off by now!

This year's duck course also surpassed expectation and joins the list of "best ever at HKK". This year, two small perfect rectangles of breast with a generous helping of that crispy, lemongrass infused skin were carved at the table, and plated on flat pancakes - one was topped with caviar, while the other paired with foie gras and kumquat. Both were perfection - rich, fatty, flavoursome mouthfuls.

Scallops with yu fungus, lemongrass, royal stock and thick slurpy noodles were wonderful. Juicy, perfectly cooked scallops with a punchy garlic sauce and some of the best noodles I've tried, which I imagine are made in house. The meal at HKK is rich and long, but not overly so - there are very few filling carbs until the last couple of savoury courses so it's quite easy to pace yourself. 

The final main course was a cute little package of guinea fowl with ginko nuts, mushrooms and mangalica ham, and was one of the richest courses, having been all cooked together in the wrapper it came in. A fitting last main course for such a luxurious meal.  

Puddings (yes, there's two) are kumquat carrot cake, vanilla cream, orange foam and poached kumquat which is an HKK signature dish that I've had before in various guises. As always, the sponge was light as a feather. The second pudding was my favourite - Century Egg - a fluffy sesame mousse with vanilla ice cream and caramelised hazelnut.

HKK is a real treat and I think Chinese New Year is one the best times to experience their amazing tasting menu. The CNY menu is available at lunch and dinner until 11th February, so book in soon if you want to go!



  1. WOW this all sounds incredible. I've never been to HKK but I really want to. The duck course has me drooling at my desk! Love AP xo

    Andrea's Passions

    1. Ah, you should go! My favourite Chinese in London.

      Rosie xx


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