Hakkasan, our Time Out Doha Best Restaurant for 2015 fuses top-class contemporary Chinese cuisine with an elegant Reviews

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The best restaurant in Doha. These are not words we speak with insouciance. For the Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards this year, our panel of judges scoured the city, combing through menus and wiping plates clean on our quest to find most well-rounded dining establishment while taking into account the taste of food, the level of service, and what makes it stand out from the rest of the pack.

Hakkasan takes the crown on so many levels. Designed as a showpiece, the restaurant has rapidly established itself as a hot ticket destination, where contemporary Chinese cuisine meets London after-sunset vibe, the crowd is always dressed to the nines, and an evening of flawless dining is virtually guaranteed.
We visited on several occasions, including an unassuming weeknight when it was packed and during the newly launched Friday dim sum brunch – only to have our original premise reaffirmed: Hakkasan is tough to beat.
Here are highlighted notes from four reviewers on our judging panel.

Reviewer 1
The internationally heralded crispy duck salad should be the gateway to a maiden meal at Hakkasan. It is a visual beauty. Poached, spiced duck is given a finishing touch in the wok to turn its edges crispy. The meat is crowned by a bouquet of microgreens, sprouts and cress, all to be tossed through with the accompanying pomegranate, pomelo and toasted pine nuts. The salad introduces the spirit of the menu: familiar techniques and flavours with ingredients from across the globe, a modern, cosmopolitan take on the Sino kitchen. Granted, at QR170 per plate, it’s the most expensive appetizer on the list, but well worth every bite. The server presents this dish with gusto, and after receiving permission once all pictures are taken, tosses the salad up and apportions it to each diner.

Another dish that garners plaudits is the stir-fry Chilean sea bass with Szechuan pepper. A collective gasp escapes our mouths when we first taste it. It is so exquisitely tender that the meat falls apart. Fresh and flavourful, there is a hint of anise, a sweet dimension to temper the spiciness of the dried chilli.

We end the meal with the oft-mentioned chocolate orange. The dessert takes its cue from a classic flavour combination but incorporates little surprises to make it extra special. A warm sauce is poured table-side over a chocolate disc, melting it into the glass and all over the blood orange sorbet and chocolate mousse beneath. Each bite is smooth and luxurious, ending with bursts of excitement in the form of popping candy. Positively glorious and utterly delightful!

Reviewer 2
A pattern develops that becomes clear through the evening – we each order from the menu what we think we would enjoy the most and stick to our guns.

Although we share the dishes, we remain adamant that our respective choices are the best.

And so it is that I go for the Assam seafood claypot with okra and coconut (obviously the best looking dish on the table). More of a fusion into Thai cuisine with Chinese influences, it’s nothing less than an exquisite delight: succulent white fish, tenderly cooked squid and more seafood combined expertly with the crunch of the okra. The spices, robust flavours and fresh taste of coconut milk are so perfect that superlatives cannot do justice – they have to be tasted first hand.

The fusion theme is repeated with the roasted duck udon noodles with XO Sauce. The udon noodles, synonymous with Japanese cuisine, work in harmony with the crunchy bean sprouts and soft slices of duck, with XO sauce giving the dish an extra bang. Best yet, this plate is a bang for your buck too, with one of the most reasonable prices for a one-dish meal.

But if you’re looking for something to really write home about, the lemon pot dessert should not be missed. An incredible crumble at the bottom, meringue pieces dotted inside the glass terrarium and a lemon ice-cream that is delectable defined, this makes for a showstopper to finish to your Hakkasan experience.

Reviewer 3
The bamboo basket arrives piping hot… enclosed so a puff of steam escapes when opened, and along with it, a degree of majesty as tiny pieces of art come into focus. The Hakka dim sum platter is non-negotiable for all dumpling lovers in Doha and the perfect gateway to any Hakkasan experience. Although there are four different dim sum varieties, including scallop and one with skin tinged ebony by squid ink, it’s the har kau that receives the highest plaudits, for the prawns, sweet and juicy, are encased in a translucent crystal dough of perfect thinness.

Hakkasan ups its game with, well, pretty stunning game. The Mongolian style venison is one of those well balanced dishes that picks up the sweetness of onions and offsets it with a savoury, peppery sauce. We order the dish medium and are thoroughly delighted that each slice of venison is as tender as tender gets, requiring minimal chewing before melting away.

Vegetarians needn’t despair. Options abound for those inclined to leaves, shoots, stalks and fungi – all anything but bland and boring. The tofu, aubergine and shiitake mushroom claypot is a cracker. All the components are tossed through in a chilli black bean sauce, livening up the taste buds as they sizzle on the table. Silky tofu and precisely cut aubergine absorb the zing from the spices in the sauce. Each mouthful is an explosion of flavour, and for us to talk about tofu in this matter, that’s saying something.

Reviewer 4
Pipa duck is sometimes called the pauper’s Peking duck. It couldn’t be further from the truth at Hakkasan, as the ten slices that land on our table taste a million dollars. The dish is a Cantonese style of roasting duck whereby both skin and meat are enjoyed simultaneously, typically with rice or wonton noodles. The duck here comes simply on dollops of Hoisin sauce, a mix of sweet to accentuate the richness of the bird and salty to cut through the fat. Eaten on its own without a carrier carb, we are able to appreciate the subtleties of the dish: crisp skin, gamey meat, and undertones of plum from the sauce.

It’s the perfect dish to follow the platter of Hakka fried dim sum, little nuggets holding treasures you wouldn’t find in other establishments: pumpkin with duck, Wagyu beef, even venison. There are two pieces of each variety for sensible reason, for you won’t want to have to share.

But all this talk of food glosses over one of the biggest draws of visiting Hakkasan: the atmosphere. We are surrounded by feting company, whose conversations are spirited and laughter is hearty. Each table benefits from a low-hanging bulb, casting just enough light over the food for dramatic effect while keeping the visual lines around us soft. The mood is chic without being forced, romantic but not saccharine, and ideal for intimacy or celebration. No wonder Hakkasan is Doha’s Best Restaurant for 2015.

The bill (for four)
1x steamed dim sum QR98
1x fried dim sum QR98
1x Pipa duck QR160
1x Mongolian venison QR200
1x Assam seafood claypot QR160
1x XO duck udon QR65
1x duck salad QR170
1x Szechuan seabass QR195
1x tofu claypot QR65
1x rice QR45
1x vanilla cheesecake QR55
1x lemon pot QR55
1x chocolate orange QR55
4x Voss water QR168
2x orange juice QR70
1x jasmine tea QR25
Total bill QR1,684

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: The St. Regis Doha, West Bay, Doha
  • Tel: 4446 0170
  • Travel: Street Westbay
  • Website
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Times: Open Sat-Thu 7pm-midnight, Fri noon-3.30pm
  • Price: QR500+
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

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User reviews:

Posted by: Franck on 14 Mar ' 15 at 06:28

Edited by TimeOutDoha.com

I experience for the first time the Friday brunch, it was a nice atmosphere and a good food, I've been to many brunch in Doha and I have to say that in general it was a disappointment for me and my friends, Except the quality of the food we could not really understand what type of brunch we are going for, the staff told us that there is a buffet but they recommended us not to go there?!? WHY??? We could choose from a menu whatever we would like to eat and that's about it, The drinks were probably the most disappointed thing, in about 3 hours we could not have more that 3 drinks, the reason why is obviously the efficiency of the staff, one of my friend even waited one hours to received her drink!!!! Taking into consideration that the brunch including drinks cost you 450QR per person that was a big disappointment, it is suppose to be THE PLACE to go in Doha isn't it? That was the first and last time I've been there

Posted by: Ryan on 09 Aug ' 13 at 18:12

The environment was nice and new. The service was just okay for waiter, they did not mention their name and did not ask about allergens. I would like to say more about hostess, they are not very friendly and they even did not say bye to me. They asked me to leave or move to the bar later, because there are reservation guests are coming later. I did not feel well about this. Menu are variety and food are nice. However, it will be much better if the service people suggest some dishes positively. I would like to give only 3 star of 5 for this experience.

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