To the casual observer, Beverly Hills might at first seem a bit staid and stuffy. Enter Hakkasan, a haute temple of fusion Cantonese cuisine three blocks west of AKA, and that perception melts like lychee ice cream on a sunny California day.
A long passageway leads you past a coterie of leggy hostesses then along a dazzling bar buzzing with a smart set tippling imaginative handcrafted cocktails. One more turn leads to a dining area cossetted in elegantly carved wooden screens worthy of a 1920s era opium den.
The menu’s selections are just as striking, featuring dishes such as roasted silver cod with champagne and Chinese honey or truffle braised egg noodle with enoki mushroom. Enjoy your meal with a clever pairing from an extensive wine list or let yourself be seduced by some truly inspired cocktails. My “inspiration” came in the form of the deliciously savory and smoky Negroni featuring Rusty Blade aged gin, Antica Formula Gin Campari, and a heady presentation thanks to a Grand Marnier smoke infusion.
Photo by Sarah Ackerman/Flickr.