Ling Ling by Hakkasan sits close to the water’s edge in the lively Aker Brygge area of Oslo in a modern curved building full of natural light and beautiful people.
One exception perhaps was wealthy business magnate Johan Fredriksen, who was sitting in the corner wearing shades (actually required due to the excellent sunny conditions that evening) with three dapper pals. As one of my fellow diners remarked if he had chosen to eat here then the food must be good. He looked like he often enjoyed a good feed.
The restaurant is part of an exclusive chain which I was told started off in London and is now dotted around prime locations across the world. The menu is designed to be shared amongst friends, consisting of smaller plates of Cantonese dishes inspired by the signature cuisine at Hakkasan and influenced by local flavours and ingredients. Dishes arrive in a continuous flow from the kitchen, allowing you to explore the different cooking techniques.
The wine prices (a subject close to many a Norwegian heart) were much better than at Park 29. One of our resident wine experts chose a cheeky Silva net Trocken, Wittman 2016 from the Rheinhessen region of Germany which was apparently a German classic and quite a rare find in Norway.
Since I am not a huge fan of white wine, I opted for a bottle of Japanese Kirin Ichiban beer instead which I found to be very similar to Asahi or Tsing Tao.
We were presented with a little amuse bouche in the form of Seschuan pickles – kimchi fermented cabbage chilli and sesame seeds. These tickled our tastebuds tantalisingly, hinting at the delights to come.
We had all agreed to share the ‘journey’ menu in two groups of four (there were eight of us).
The first starter out of the kitchen was some fried chicken in a Chinese chippy sauce (well that’s what it tasted like to me).
I kind of got a bit lost trying to keep track of what is what, so I’ll bung the photos on here and let you figure it out by cross-referencing the menu.
The service was excellent throughout the evening. At one point I was pretty much escorted to the toilet by a waitress and had the door opened for me by a waiter. Inside were pristine toilet facilities, posh handwash and thick spongy paper towels on which to dry my wonderfully perfumed hands.
There was also some baked silver cod which was decimated at the other end of the table before it reached me, and so remained unphotographed. There’s probably other food missing too from the images.
It was all very nice (probably my best Chinese experience for a long time and better than Dinner in Oslo) but all came at once so it ended up like some kind of buffet experience. It was a riot of textures and traditional Asian flavours.
After the food we sat around for quite some time chatting and then eventually walked out into a cold Oslo night to find a taxi. It was a great night.