I love Asian food. The subtle spices, delicate flavours and sweet succulent mouthfuls of tastiness have me craving it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so you can imagine my excitement when we were invited to new kid on the block, Hakka. Having already been told of it’s amazingness by several friends who had already visited, my expectations were really rather high. And they were not disappointed. It was absolutely fun, fab, friendly, and above all, delicious!
Just near the market on Carrer Anibal in Santa Catalina is a doorway into a hidden oasis of loveliness, where you step out of the hustle and bustle of the surrounding area and find yourself in calming surroundings, replete with tropical fish tank that simply adds to the aura already created by the living wall. The garden space, which, whilst being inside the front door, is also an outside space that during the day is dappled with sunlight and at night is lit by hundreds of exposed bulbs, creating a starlight effect and increasing the air of love and romance.
The inside space is equally delightful, with dark natural woods and beautifully crafted leather chairs adding tot the understated oriental themes which run throughout. It’s easy to see the PingPong and Hakkasan influences here, though one should not think that this is where the name is derived from as Hakka actually means ‘guest’ and this is exactly how each and every person is treated, as if a welcome guest in a house, in this case in the house of Rocco and Andrea.
And what a welcome we received. Within minutes I felt as though I had known Rocco all my life and it was as though we were returning long lost friends. But it’s all so natural. Rocco oozes enthusiasm and it wasn’t just because we were his guests that evening, I watched and he was exactly the same with each and every person who stepped through the door. It’s impossible for his joyous energy to not rub off and he left every table full of beaming smiles and laughter. The clientele is distinctly international and I was able to count at least five different languages whilst we were sat there. Rocco claims his English is not good, but this is not true in the slightest, this fabulous Italian man has exceptional English as he ran each table through the cocktail and food menu.
What I like so much about Hakka is that it has flipped traditional Asian dining, in fact all dining, on its head, as this is not a restaurant where you can order cocktails to compliment your food. Instead it is a cocktail bar where you can order food to compliment your drinks instead. The cocktail menu is spectacular, however should you wish for something that isn’t listed then Emanuelle Perone, mixologist extraordinaire and runner up at the Islas Baleares Flaring Cocktail Competition will be happy to create it for you. In fact you don’t really need the menu at all as Emanuelle will come over and listen to your preferences where he will then match the perfect cocktail to your tastes.
Anouska my every trusty friend and fabulous photographer decided to go with something with a red berry base and was treated to Los fruto de la Geisha, a deliciously fresh, fruity, yet tart concoction that was exactly what she’d been envisioning and did not last long. I was treated to an old classic, the Porn Star Martini, delivered with shot of cava, half a succulent passion fruit and then the cocktail itself, which I was instructed was the order in which it was to be enjoyed. And enjoy it I did!
As everything is cooked fresh and to order Rocco explained that the dishes would take their time and that this is deliberate. Here is slow food and slow living at its finest. Instead of rushing covers through the door you are encouraged to kick back, relax and enjoy the company of whoever you are lucky enough to be sat with. To keep our hunger at bay though we started with a snacky plate of edamame. It was an absolute joy not to have to emphasise the spiciness and have it served with just the right amount of kick. This chef knows his spices which is so refreshing. The edamame were perfectly cooked and were a real treat to start with, setting us up for the rest of the dishes that were to arrive.
Next up were the Vietnamese Pork Balls with Satay dipping sauce, which Rocco proudly explained was one of the most ordered dishes on the menu. In fact they started with a much smaller menu that they have now but they had so many repeat customers that they wanted to give them new things to try each time, and so it was to Andrea to expand the menu, a thing she takes absolute passionate pleasure in, which is obvious as she starts talking us through it. I point out that anyone who can make a cauliflower dish, in this case the wonderfully named Firecracker Coliflower, sound appealing, clearly has heaps of culinary flair.
Next up was a salad that Andrea had been served in a Japanese restaurant whilst on a cruise to Puerto Rico – definitely eclectic – and thank goodness that had happened as this salad was to die for! The Wakame, Avocado and Crab salad was a dish of legends. Equally creamy, spicy, smoky and sweet all in one mouthful. The crab was perfectly pitched against the wakame and had us pretty much licking the plate.
And it didn’t just stop there. The delights kept coming. The duck spring rolls had the perfect crunch as you bit into them, and were full to capacity with juicy duck and served with a delicious tamarind dipping sauce. The popcorn chicken were a bit like Pringles, once we popped we just couldn’t stop. By this point we had to restrain ourselves, despite desperately wanting to order the chicken wings, in order to leave some space for dessert. Something we were both very grateful to have done when we were presented with the restaurant’s postre del dia, a delightful apple spring roll of Philipine influence.
We were so impressed with what we ate that we returned two days later to sample their menu del dia, which on this day featured mouthwatering gyozas, followed by a perfectly spiced thai green curry and another delicious dessert. An absolute steal at €13.50.
Dim Sum translates as small eats that touch the heart and I can honestly say that this Asian oasis certainly touched our hearts and has left a lasting impression!
Hakka Dim Sum
Carrer d’Annibal 26, 07013, Palma de Mallorca
+34 871 53 88 12
Review By Victoria Pearce
Photos by Anouska Foss