3 reasons to visit Hakkasan Riyadh at Bujairi Terrace

The restaurant combines traditional Chinese recipes with progressive cooking techniques…

Sometimes, it takes a while for a restaurant to grow on you. Despite having a few representatives here in Riyadh, fine Cantonese fare is a culinary niche. We take you to Bujairi Terrace’s one-and-only Chinese restaurant – the renowned Hakkasan – for a refresher.

@whatsonksaHakkasan Riyadh: One of our favourite restaurants in Bujairi Terrace 😍

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With 12 restaurants worldwide, of which four hold Michelin stars, Hakkasan Riyadh is a great addition to the city’s dining scene and has been a star attraction for residents and visitors since it opened last year. The combination and quality of its modern Cantonese fare and chic interiors are a worthy starting point on Bujairi Terrace’s food trail.

Here are three reasons you should dine at Hakkasan Riyadh.

1. Inventive offerings

The modern Chinese restaurant is in good hands with Malaysian-born chef Nicky Tan, who has crafted an enticing menu with dishes that are presented in a contemporary way but grounded in authentic flavours.

We choose various dishes illustrating the restaurant’s pedigree, starting with the homely, appetite-whetting royal sweetcorn soup with lobster (SAR88). Hakkasan takes this classic in a vibrant direction with chunks of meat for maximum satisfaction.

Hakkasan Riyadh supremem dim sum

Expect more nuanced ingredients and flavours with the supreme dim sum (SAR168), too. Comprising wagyu beef with black garlic; lobster dumpling; scallop and chicken shu mai; and royal king crab crystal jade, they are all excellent morsels with subtle surprises that lift them above the ordinary.

They are not extravagant for extravagance’s sake, but rather, made with deftness, precision, and a featherlight touch that aims only to coax out each ingredient’s essence.

Hakkasan Riyadh prawn fritters

The remaining dishes – a plate of sesame prawn toast with fried enoki mushroom (SAR95); prawn fritter with truffle sauce (SAR138); and crispy spicy beef (SAR148) – don’t loom quite as large as the aforementioned starters, but they’re all perfectly pleasurable bit players in the menu.

To follow is the Singapore vermicelli noodle (SAR88) – which I won’t usually order if I see it on any restaurant’s menu. Because here’s a fun fact: Despite its name, Singapore noodles – a curried rice vermicelli that’s so popular on menus around the world – do not come from Singapore. (And as a Singaporean, I can vouch for that.) Therefore, I expect very little from the dish when it arrives, but I’ll eat that cynicism immediately: this is a more than decent plate of noodles. Hakkasan’s own riff on the dish is deceptively simple yet laden with umami.

Hakkasan Riyadh dessert platter

Rounding off your meal with dessert is a must at Hakkasan, and just as we thought no more could be digested, the Hakka platter (SAR148) gives a refreshing second wind. Fortunately, all that is left to tackle is a delectably light hazelnut parfait, a tangy spikey lemon, a decadent chocolate marquise, a chocolate peanut dumpling, and the star of the show – chocolate mousse loaded with a layer of sweet caviar.

2. All-time favourites

Hakkasan Riyadh Peking duck

The restaurant is well-loved by gourmands the world over, and naturally, some dishes have become cult favourites. Apart from dishing out capital dim sums, hearty soups and glorious stir‑fried creations, one standout is the Hakkasan signature Peking duck (SAR688 for a whole duck & SAR388 for half), renowned for its crispy skin and succulent, juicy meat.

This supreme dish requires at least three days of preparation. The duck is first marinated with Chinese five-spice, herbs, ginger and spring onion, in what is known as a poultry shower. It is then air-dried with controlled humidity before it’s roasted at a precise temperature to render the skin crisp and the meat moist and tasty.

Hakkasan Riyadh crispy duck salad

This is also why the crispy duck salad (SAR178) is a best-selling dish. It is a refreshing segue to the mains: a melange of juicy pomelo, pine nuts, shallots, mixed greens and tender slices of duck breast, tossed together with a lip-smacking dressing.

Another popular item is the stir-fried black pepper rib-eye beef (SAR198), an Asian food favourite. The sauce is rich without overpowering the succulent beef – works as a solid solo main or a satisfying sharing-style dish.

3. Swanky space

Hakkasan Riyadh Bujairi Terrace

Each of Hakkasan’s locations in the world has its own personality. For Riyadh, an ample, luxurious space has been transformed into an intimate yet innovative interior. The fusion of modern design with traditional Chinese motifs is evident in the dark wood screens and rich materials. It also takes cues from the identity of the historic At-Turaif district, as reflected in the traditional Najdi architectural style surrounding its interiors.

The low lighting and permeable partitions surrounding the dining nooks provide a pleasant balance between a privileged sense of seclusion and vignette views of the busy restaurant. The sweeping At-Turaif views are also a beauty to behold, especially when sitting in the alfresco dining area.

Hakkasan Riyadh, Al Bujairi, Diriyah 13711, Sun to Thurs 5pm to 1am, Fri & Sat 2.30pm to 1am. Tel: 9200 33795. @hakkasanriyadh

Images: Instagram