Simply a fine Chinese iftar at Hakkasan, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

Iftar, a time for people to sit together and break their fast. like many things these days, it has taken on a new meaning, with elaborate buffets offering  a wasteful selection of dishes which in the dn gets thrown away. There is so much irony in the way most iftars are presented.  However, as was the case last year, there is a growing number of restaurants, especially the independents who are creating magical set menus for iftars that offer, more than anything, great value. Hakkasan is one of those. I recently tried their Iftar sneak preview as part of a media invitation. 

Reasons to be excited about Hakkasan's Iftar

1. The Terrace. 

Notwithstanding the fact that it becoming hot, the view from the terrace, covering the gardens at Emirates Palace to the lights and steel down Corniche road makes it a great way to start your iftar. We had a signature iftar mocktail on the terrace before heading inside. On a side note, if you prefer less pomp and ceremony, park at the back of Hakkasan and avoid the hotel entrance. It really leads to a more relaxed feel as you enter the restaurant. 

A mini Best of Hakkasan at a cut price

Hakkasan is an extraordinary restaurant with some exceptional dishes. However, it does not come cheap. For anyone who has been intimidated by the prices, this is the ideal chance to ease into the experience that is Hakkasan and be dazzled by the dishes. The menu shows what a great deal this is. This is pretty much what the big buffets cost and there are merits to the big buffet in terms of variety and dishes that have a definite Arabic nature to them, but can that outweigh the waste at the end? Also,  a dish prepared while you are waiting cannot be beaten  by a dish sitting in a buffet for an hour.

Remember, less is definitely more. 


Don't expect Chinese dishes with an Arabic twist and  kitschy iconography to show the period you are in. On the other hand, a very nice little touch is the use of the Hakkasan dessert and Afternoon tea stand to carry a few dates, dried fruit and nuts for those who are actually breaking their fast. The rest of the menu is 100% Hakkasan. 

The Peking duck is the best I have had in the city and as someone who lived in China for 3 years, I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to duck. It is quite a substantial menu for the price. You may think the Peking Duck is the highlight but for me it was actually two of the main dishes - the superb Five spices Wagyu short ribs and the Seasonal vegetables. Firsty, the Wagyu. Slow cooked, so tender, and not chewy at all. Secondly, the spices. If used without discretion, Five spices can easily ruin a dish. But not tonight. Then, the vegetables. Perfectly but briefly wok-cooked, so it is still crunchy. The lowly vegetable turned out to be one of the two best dishes. 

Hakkasan's Iftar is in keeping with the restaurant's core philosophy of high quality dishes with the finest ingredients resulting in dishes that should have the power to take the guest to China either for the first time or allow others to relive their visits. Through this iftar experience, guests will have this but be amazed at the accesible price. But the latter is achieved without  a drop in quality. It is still very much Hakkasan. 

The Essentials

Emirates Palace
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 690 7999

Ramadan runs from approximately Tuesday 15 May - Thursday 14 June
228AED net per person based on minimum of 2 people

Brandon Stoltenkamp