→ Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. Licensed. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
IT’S HAKKASAN, JIM, but not as we know it.
Earlier this year, the Dubai branch of the globally renowned Chinese fine dining chain shut up shop in Jumeirah Emirates Towers, and sashayed down Sheikh Zayed Road to reopen at Atlantis The Palm. Now located in the space that formerly housed YUAN, this is not the restaurant’s final destination – come the completion of the towering Royal Atlantis Resort next door, Hakkasan will move once again. This time, presumably, to designated, specifically designed digs.
On the food front, it’s still, largely, everything diners have come to expect from the Westernleaning Cantonese eatery. Yet both the setting – bar the addition of trademark trellising, little has been done to the old YUAN interiors – and service lacks the sophisticated touch that has helped the brand to so many awards over the years. (Indeed, Hakkasan is no stranger to Time Out Dubai’s Best Chinese Restaurant gong.)
Coinciding with the relocation, a number of menu regulars have been revamped to freshen up the restaurant’s offering, but most of the old favourites remain intact (yes, your duck and pomelo salad hasn’t gone anywhere).
So it’s disappointing that the whole experience feels inescapably underwhelming.
Dinner at Hakkasan is the kind of occasion that’s typically preceded with a swish mixed drink at the bar. That’s still an option, but the cold, not-quitewelcoming area doesn’t inspire a desire to linger, nor return to end the evening.
It’s a busy night on our visit, but we find ourselves with time to spare even inside a two-hour seating window.
The supreme dim sum platter (as lavish as ever, if not a taste bud-bending showstopper) is swiftly followed by pretty much everything else on order, and we’re quickly swamped with food.
Stir-fried black pepper rib-eye beef puts up a good fight, but overpowered by sides of cold, stringy hakka noodles and overly oily edamame egg-fried rice, it’s hard for anything on the table to feel like a winner.
Hakkasan might once have been among the best restaurants in the city, but in this current incarnation, it feels almost from another planet.
“The whole experience feels inescapably underwhelming”
WHAT IS IT... Return of the global Cantonese powerhouse, now on jazzy Palm J
WHY GO... We’ll get back to you on that
Time Out reviews anonymously and pays for its meals