→ Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. Li­censed. At­lantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).

Time Out Dubai - - FOOD -

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

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