Review: Hakkasan Dubai at Atlantis The Palm

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The world-renowned Chinese restaurant adds to the line-up of big names at Atlantis.

Back in July, Hakkasan Dubai made the surprise announcement that after seven years, it would be closing the doors of its restaurant in Jumeirah Emirates Towers. But unlike many eateries in this city that issue a vague press release and vanish, never to be heard of again, the Dubai version of the famous London Chinese restaurant has been resurrected at Atlantis, The Palm.

You’ll find it at the entrance of The Avenues, occupying the space where another high-end Chinese restaurant, YUAN, used to be. This is only a temporary home, though – Hakkasan will move to The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences when the new hotel is finished at the end of 2019.

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It might be a short-term tenancy, but no expense has been spared in making the new Hakkasan just as slick as its predecessor. Intricately carved wooden panels divide the restaurant into compartments, so though it’s busy when we visit, it still feels intimate. Pumping DJ beats and dim lighting add to drama, but thankfully each table has its own pendant light, so you can see what is in front of you.

Hakkasan is a place where you’ll be doing a lot of eating with your eyes. We let out an audible “ooh” when our vegetarian dim sum platter (Dhs98) arrived, each dumpling like a little edible jewel, all brightly coloured and glossy.

The menu is divided into set menus, where you are served a selection of dishes, and a la carte. As we had specific dietary requirements (no shellfish), we went with the latter. Wait staff were excellent. They made confident recommendations and weren’t afraid to show some personality.

The Jasmine tea soaked Wagyu beef ribs (Dhs158) were an early favourite – sweet, smokey morsels that melt in your mouth. Again, the presentation of the dish was beautiful, served on a china plate with tiny white flowers for garnish.

For mains, we got the sweet and sour chicken with pomegranate (Dhs108). Lightly pan-fried and with just the right amount of tangy sauce, it was a classy version of the takeaway classic. It went well with the edamame egg fried rice (Dhs58), the beans offering little grassy bursts of flavor. But the braised Wagyu short rib in Szechuan sesame sauce (Dhs225) was the true star of the show. Served on the bone, the meat was rich, buttery and meltingly tender.

A refreshing end to the meal came in the form of a lemon sesame tart (Dhs55), with the zingy, creamy filling mellowed by the nutty crunch of sesame and sweet peaks of meringue.

It will be interesting to see what Hakkasan does with their move to The Royal Atlantis in a year’s time. But based on our experience, there isn’t much they need to improve on. Welcome back.

Hakkasan Dubai, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, daily 5pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 426 2626. hakkasan.com

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