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HKK - EC2 Shoreditch

Expectations are high when you dine at a restaurant as well regarded as HKK. A Michelin star and strong history and reputation had me excited for my meal here, and dare I say it - the hype is real.

Sitting down to try out their new Summer Menu, the eight courses revolve around ingredients and flavours thought to revitalise the body’s energy and spirit during the hotter months. In addition, the drinks pairing for the courses span the range of teas, cocktails, wines and sake – a real journey across the world in terms of drink but carefully matched with the flavours of the dishes.

With eight courses to discuss, not to mention the vegetarian menu – this is one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in recent years. From the second you step through the door and are greeted, to the moment you leave the restaurant (and even offered umbrellas for the pouring rain), this defines the term “dining experience”.

Chargrilled octopus with a cinnamon sauce with sake pairing made for a delightful kickstart to the menus, while the vegetarian dim sum left me shocked at how intensely flavoured and how alike chicken the texture was in a bun.

The chicken and fois gras crispy bun was an absolute highlight, and the signature cherry wood Peking duck was three cuts of the duck that melted in my mouth with intense flavour.

If the occasion allows for it, I would thoroughly recommend the matching drinks. Each one was superbly introduced by the sommelier, and subtly altered the taste and flavours in each dish. Highlights include the opening sake, and the tea/whisky cocktail.

Suffice it to say, the menu here sets the bar high from the first dish and consistently remains at that level the whole way through. The only wobbles came in the form of the vegetarian menu, where one or two of the dishes were perhaps not quite at the level of thought and care shown in the meat/fish tasting menu.

Nonetheless, the eight courses are a delightful wave of flavour, presentation, skill, and ultimately, taste. By the end of the meal, it was almost with sad recognition that we came to our desserts, so enjoyable was the menu to that point. But then again, even Summer has to end sometime…

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