Cantonese cuisine is the most talked about food in China and the best of it is now available in Doha.
Located at the St Regis Doha hotel, Hakkasan is the first Cantonese restaurant to open in Qatar and the third outlet of the famed group in the GCC region.
Hakkasan CEO Niall Howard says the opening of the restaurant in this country “highlights our success in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”
“It was only logical to bring it to Doha and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with The St Regis Doha,” says Howard.
Mohamed Sleiman, chief operating officer of Resorts Development Company, says Hakkasan is a global brand that is synonymous with high-end authentic Cantonese cuisine.“We believe that it perfectly fits Doha’s unique cosmopolitan environment,” says Sleiman.
He says the restaurant offers a special dining experience from its elegant ambiance to its world-class cuisine. “Bringing in an internationally renowned brand to be part of our exclusive portfolio of upscale dining outlets certainly adds more value to our core offerings, while also allowing us to cater to a much broader customer base.”
Sleiman believes that customers will greatly appreciate this new offering at St. Regis as part of the company’s “continuing thrust to ensure a truly satisfying experience and build lasting relationships with our customers.”
Known as Emirate’s premier dining destination, it has enticed well-known persons like Uma Thurman, Morgan Freeman and Clive Owen to visit Hakkasan Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
General manager Said Marzouk says Cantonese is the most traditional Chinese food which is popular in the US, UK and now in the Middle East. “The traditional recipes we don’t change. It’s art.We have 30 artists in the kitchen where every dish is created, took a long time until they match – the recipes, the spice, the look, and how it will be presented, even the plate – which makes it different,” says Marzouk.
Head chef Lai Min Wei, formerly of Hakkasan Dubai, prepares the Hakkasan menu which included signature dishes like Peking Duck with Caviar, Jasmine Tea smoked Wagyu Beef Ribs and Grilled Chilean Seabass with Chinese Honey. The chef spends a lot of time to work on one dish. “So to have one dish for you to eat in five minutes, it takes him four months to clear that dish and to balance the quality, the look, the taste and all this element to provide you the best dish you will ever taste anywhere,” says Marzouk.
“We don’t jeopardise quality. Our chef has checked what is available in the market. Then the unavailable items we have to import it from China,” he adds.
The authentic Cantonese restaurant will also serve a number of specially designed dishes, including Stir-fried Duck with Wing Bean or Shanghai Fried Lamb Tenderloin.
Artistically designed by Woods Bagot UK, Hakkasan Doha features a private valet service entrance set within the gardens of the St Regis Hotel. It has a unique and elegant entrance through its iconic long corridor in slate stone.
“Hakkasan is more on details,” Marzouk stressed. Inside the restaurant is the “man cage” (men’s dining room) and “Ling-Ling lounge” which is ideal for small intimate gatherings. Marzouk explains that there is no meaning of Ling-Ling. He says the creator of Hakkasan, Allan Yao decided to make some name for an area where people wonder what it is.
Hakkasan also has a Terrace for outdoor dining which offers an additional capacity of 60 seats. He says guests love to stay outside during winter and the beginning of summer. It is a perfect place for various gatherings like parties, birthdays and special meetings.
For indoor private dining, the restaurant has a classy and warm-lighted room that could accommodate 16 persons. “A business dinner can happen here. Most of the locals would love to have their families indoor so they could freely dine in. It can have only 10 or six, no problem as per the request,” Marzouk says.
Hakkasan also offers a menu called Tan Cha, a special all Dim Sum lunch (with three packages), every Friday. “It’s a set menu tailored by the chef”. Specially selected items go with the tea and other drinks. “When you eat the item and you drink the tea you feel both,” the manager says.
Made of white marble, Marzouk says even the rest rooms are elegant, clean and classy not like an unsmooth stone. He believes that white is the most peaceful look anywhere and “it shows how clean you are.”
Tareq Derbas, general Manager of The St Regis Doha said: “The opening of such an iconic restaurant within our grounds is a testament to the vision and drive of our owners. Hakkasan Doha will offer our guests an experience that will be unmatched in Doha.”
The restaurant received various awards and citations which included Caterer Middle East’s Top Outlet Opening of the Year 2010, Time Out Abu Dhabi’s Best Newcomer Restaurant Award 2010, three category wins at the UAE people’s choice What’s On Awards 2010 ceremony – the Favourite Far Eastern Restaurant, Favourite New Comer and for the Best Chef of the Year 2010, and Time Out Abu Dhabi’s Best Chinese Award 2011.
Hakkasan’s London opening in 2001 has gained loyal customers, visiting US, UK and Middle Eastern restaurants. It is one of the most popular and successful modern Chinese fine-dining brand in the world today. Its outlets are located in London Hanway Place, London Mayfair, Miami, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Dubai, New York and San Francisco.
Owned by Abu Dhabi’s property investment company Tasameem, the Hakkasan group achieved a Michelin star in 2003. It was the only Chinese restaurant in Europe to receive such an accolade that year. Hakkasan London Mayfair was also awarded a Michelin star for 2012.