Lee Kok Hua
What’s the (back)story? Hakkasan, created by ground-breaking restaurateur Alan Yau, began life in London but has since sprawled over the world with branches in glamorous global hotspots such as Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai and, of course, Abu Dhabi.
Why it’s so successful: Tried and tested Cantonese-inspired classics, distinctive design and an inescapable opulent aura make for a potent and seemingly timeless mix. The restaurant also prides itself on its stellar service levels and extensive beverage options, ensuring it has remained one of the UAE capital’s go-to dining destinations for more than a decade now.
The setting: Housed in the awe-inspiring Emirates Palace hotel, the Abu Dhabi restaurant has long delivered consistently excellent and beguiling southern Chinese plates to match its surroundings. The beautifully executed interiors feature the concept’s signature latticed screens, lacquered wood, low lighting and long bar, while the maze-like covered terrace offers the best seats in the house. Don’t miss out on its night brunch experience, with dim sum dumplings aplenty alongside its supreme Peking duck with caviar. Oh, and unlimited drinks.
Who’s cooking? Malaysian-born head chef Lee Kok Hua has overseen the kitchen since 2010, having learned the ropes at the original Hanway Place restaurant in the UK. It means Hakkasan classics such as the extensive dim sum offering and crispy duck salad are as knockout as ever, while newer creations, such as stir-fried baby broccoli with preserved olive and crispy seaweed, are also regularly added to the wide-ranging menu.