Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in London

By Adam Tuesday 24th Jan, 2017

Chinese New Year 2017 welcomes the year of the Rooster. Apparently people born in the Year of the Rooster are characterised as honest, energetic, intelligent, flexible and confident. But according to Chinese astrology, the year of your sign is believed to be one of the most unlucky years of your life.

This then led me to find out what my Chinese star sign is concluding with the year of the Rabbit. Apparently this makes me ‘tender and lovely’. Well, there you go! Check yours here:

  • •Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
  • •Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
  • •Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
  • •Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
  • •Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
  • •Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
  • •Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
  • •Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
  • •Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
  • •Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
  • •Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
  • •Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971

So when it comes to celebrating, and why wouldn’t you, it’s difficult to look past the offerings from the Hakkasan Group who dominate in this sector. We’ve blogged many times about their specific restaurant offerings and still haven’t been anywhere that comes close when it comes to Chinese food. Depending on what you want we’ve outlined the offerings from HKK, Hakkasan and Yauatcha and although the main celebration is the 28th January, these menu’s will run until 11th Feb.

HKK

HKK’s Chinese New Year banquet was created by Hakkasan and HKK’s Executive Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee and features authentic Chinese ingredients such as sea cucumber, abalone and yu fungus. The kitchen uses time-honoured cooking methods resulting in modern interpretations of ancient dishes eaten by the royals. The feast ends with a Century egg, a reinvention of the Chinese thousand year old egg; the HKK Century egg is a dessert flavoured with hazelnut, sesame and coffee.

Emperor’s bite of spring

king crab, white truffle, winter bamboo shoot

Monk jumps over the wall

sea cucumber, abalone, ginseng

Touch of the heart

lobster and pickled Chinese leaf dumpling

king crab with XO sauce dumpling

sea bass and shrimp dumpling

Imperial cherry wood roasted Peking duck

imperial caviar, foie gras

Scallop noodle

yu fungus, gai lan, royal stock

Eight treasure chicken

guinea fowl, chestnuts, sticky rice, mangalica ham

Kumquat carrot cake

vanilla cream, orange foam, poached kumquat

Century egg

hazelnut, sesame, coffee

An alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage flight has been created to pair with each dish on the menu to match the intricate flavours. Upon arrival guests will also be given a glass of punch poured from an impressive jade coloured and gold leafed glass vessel made bespoke for The Emperor’s Feast.

The lavish HKK banquet showcases traditions that took place at the royal feasts; guests will be using chopsticks decorated with a silver strip, just as royals in ancient China did, to detect if there was poison in the dish. Additionally, the colour jade will feature throughout the menu: the precious stone is synonymous with Chinese emperors, used in the palaces for carvings, jewels and ceremonies as it symbolised status and power. The Scallop noodle dish featured in the Chinese New Year menu uses a jade coloured chive sauce symbolising immortality, and the feast will end with jade chocolates filled with jasmine infused chocolate ganache, given to guests as they leave in a handcrafted box.

The restaurant interior will be decorated with bespoke banners that illustrate tales of ancient Chinese Emperors and their grand elaborate feasts. The images have been especially created for HKK by Wuon-Gean Ho, a British Chinese artist-printmaker based in London. Each banner has been hand printed on beautiful Japanese shoji paper using a screen print technique. Wuon-Gean is currently working with The Royal Mint on a series of 12 illustrations for the British lunar coins to honour the Chinese zodiac and is an award-winning artist for her artist books and prints. The intricate illustrations will be jade coloured with hand-applied gold leaf, and will form an intriguing storyline that celebrates food and feasting. The banners will be suspended along two sides of the intimate restaurant space.

YAUATCHA

Michelin-starred dim sum teahouse Yauatcha celebrates the illustrious colour red for Chinese New Year. In Chinese culture the colour red is synonymous with good luck and joy and 2017 is the Year of the Rooster, symbolising fire and fortune. Yauatcha has created a range of 10 different petits gateaux each decorated a vibrant shade of red, alongside a red cocktail using the Chinese spirit baijiu and a red dim sum dish.

The 10 red petits gateaux created by the Yauatcha pastry team feature a range of flavours including the signature Raspberry delice and Chocolate pebble, as well as newer additions such as the Blackberry tart featuring a lemon crème with seasonal, sweet blackberries and the Coconut Lime petit gateau with a coconut mousse and tangy lime curd on a coconut sable base, all available à la carte or to take away. Guests will receive the retail patisserie in a luxurious limited edition gold-foiled red bag to mark the special occasion.

In addition Executive Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee has created a red dim sum dish containing Truffle crabmeat dumplings with a bright red casing to bring prosperity and wealth to guests for the forthcoming year. The exclusive ‘Red Moutai’ cocktail was created especially for Chinese New Year, bold red in colour to symbolise good fortune and containing the Chinese spirit Moutai baijiu, mixed with vodka, pineapple and elderflower.

Each petit gateau will be priced at £5.90 from the retail counter and £8.80 à la carte.

Throughout the campaign Yauatcha Soho and Yauatcha City will be home to an impressive array of glowing red Chinese lanterns creating a festive atmosphere. Guests will also experience a traditional, celebratory Chinese lion dance in Yauatcha City on 27th January and Yauatcha Soho on 29th January.

HAKKASAN

This Chinese New Year, Hakkasan restaurants around the world will celebrate the Year of the Rooster with a limited edition menu, exclusive cocktail and desserts. All 11 Hakkasan restaurants will continue to honour the Chinese wishing tree tradition inspired by the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees in Hong Kong. During this auspicious time, guests will be able to share their hopes for the coming year by writing wishes on beautiful red and gold ribbons, and invited to hang them on the iconic Hakkasan lattice cages.

To begin the celebrations, guests will receive the Waltzing Collins cocktail featuring Asian spirits such as baijiu and sake, as well as Chinese New Year fruits like mandarin, which symbolizes luck for the new year. The cocktail will be decorated with a striking golden rooster to celebrate the Chinese zodiac inspired by the ‘waltz’ that the rooster performs whilst trying to attract a female.

Guests around the world will receive the Fortune tale for the Chinese New Year feast, a traditional Chinese prosperity salad that is tossed together at the table in front of the guest featuring roasted chicken, jellyfish and mooli. The dish is commonly eaten during Chinese New Year to begin the festive meal to bring prosperity and fortune. In London, this will be followed by exclusive dishes such as Double boiled fish maw and chicken soup, a decadent dish using luxury Chinese ingredients. The main dishes include Fry prawn with peppercorn, Steam turbot with saffron and supreme soup, Sautéed duck breast in spicy bean sauce and Three mushroom with abalone sauce.

The menu ends with Deep fried sesame balls, a traditional Chinese dessert using a light pastry with a custard filling. Guests will also receive the Golden feather, an innovative dessert featuring a ginger panna cotta, mandarin and caramelised white chocolate. The Chinese New Year menu is priced at £88, however guests can also opt for the £108 menu that features two additional authentic Chinese dishes; Braised Chilean abalone with oysters and a Sweeten bean stuffed sticky rice cake for dessert presented in the shape of goldfish.

Hakkasan will provide entertainment believed to bring good luck and fortune in the form of the Chinese lion dance. Performed on Saturday 28th January at Hakkasan Hanway Place and Hakkasan Mayfair as part of the restaurant’s Chinese New Year celebration, lion troupes will make their way through the intimate lattice woodwork cages, offering symbolic expressions of luck, fortune, wisdom and joy.