Ling Ling is that special area in each Hakkasan where the vibe of the restaurant meets that of a nightclub or lounge. They like to think of it as something unique to each location. Here in New York, Ling Ling has a signature hot pink flare to it, capturing the electricity of the city. The newest incarnation of Ling Ling just opened in Marrakech, and to celebrate, Hakkasan around the world has been offering a cocktail flight which outlines the evolution of the bar space from its first incarnation in London to the newest in Morocco.
The Evolution of Ling Ling flight consists of three, small cocktails, all made with Tanqueray 10 gin and some grapefruit, and three dim sum to accompany each.
The first pairing, celebrating the original Ling Ling at Hanway Place in London, is a Venison Puff and the Bitter Fortune. The venison is surrounded by a buttery and flaky English pastry, much like a tiny meat pie. It is rich in taste and woodsy. The golden pastry looks and feels straight from the hearth, golden brown and glowing. The cocktail, a combination of gin, Aperol, and grapefruit and lime juices, is garnished with a paper thin scroll of grapefruit peel and is brightly flavored, shaving the richness of the venison from your tongue and preparing you for the next bite.
The second pairing, inspired by the seaside Ling Ling in Mykonos, Greece, is comprised of a Crispy Duck Roll and the Golden Mare. The roll is wrapped in a thin as gossamer pastry that is brittle on the outside, but still chewy on the inside, near the tangy, shredded Hudson Valley duck and a slice of cool, crunchy cucumber. It is served with a house made Hoisin Sauce that enhances the sweetness of the duck. The Golden Mare is a concoction of gin, Aperol, Pernod, and fruit juices. Rhubarb, apricot, and pineapple flavors play against the mediterranean herbs (rosemary and basil) in the drink.
Finally, the Marrakech inspired pairing of a Sesame Prawn Toast and the Chili Coupette highlight what one can expect from the newest location. The shrimp is a neat little bomb of shell fish and foie-gras surrounded by crunchy sesame. The taste was mild and roasty and the texture was firm with a pleasant crunch. The Chili Coupette was the stand-out cocktail of the flight, with chili and cardamom colliding with passionfruit and citrus.
The brilliance of this cocktail/dim sum flight is that while each stop along the way is unique and has its own character, none of these items compete with each other. Everything, much like the experience at Hakkasan, works in harmony. There is a flow to the flight and it is very enjoyable. Of course, there is an entire menu of wonderful experiences available, including their popular Crispy Duck Salad. This salad is thoroughly mixed at your table, ensuring that the duck, pomello, 7 different micro-greens, crispy lotus and pomegranate and pine nuts all work in every bite. The Flower and Stone cocktail provides a vivid and sharp contrast to the fatty duck and makes for a wonderful accompaniment to the dish.
Consider ending your meal with the Coconut Sago Pudding. This bowl of tapioca, coconut milk, sorbet, ginger candy, pomegranate, and candied, edible hibiscus was a delightful coda to what really was a fantastic culinary experience. The service, food, and beverages at Hakkasan are all of the highest quality.
The Evolution of Ling Ling cocktail flight is only available until August 31, so be sure to get in this week! Hakkasan is located at 311 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th avenues. More information, including their full menu, hours of operation, and a blog about the restaurant can be found at www.hakkasan.com.