Chinese fine dining in London is a must; amongst the top tier (literally) is Northern Chinese restaurant, Hutong at The Shard. I’ve wanted to visit for a while now and my god, I can’t believe I left it so long! The venue is a stunner! I felt instantly relaxed on arrival, the wooden interior, red emanating lanterns, aromatic smells and moody views. I’m instantly experiencing memories of my trip to Hong Kong earlier this year.
There is an impressive bar area, perfect for cocktails and a light dim sum lunch, large bathrooms boasting exception views of London, bright multi-colored traditional doors included. The private dining rooms embody the meaning of Hutong, old crossing courtyards and allies, mainly found in Beijing. Hutong London is designed to portray these crossways; giant wooden slabs divide each area. The fine dining restaurant is the home of a striking wishing tree, standing calm, dangling hand-written wish’s surround you while you dine.
Hutong’s cuisine takes its inspiration from the dishes served in the imperial palaces of what was then Peking. Based on the “Lu school” cuisine of Shandong Province. The menu is divided into dim sum, a la carte, barbeque and signature dishes and chilli. Starting you meal with dim sum is customary, I suggest you order their delicious poached won ton served with garlic-chilli sauce, crystal crab dumplings and ginger and spring onion lobster buns from their steamed. Follow with the prawn and pork siu mai with Chinese chives and their crispy shrimp rolls with thousand-year egg, rich in minerals, they were crispy slices of heaven.
We just had to compliment the bright and beautiful dim sum offering with a selection of the cocktail recommendations. I was quick to order a luminous green cocktail called Hemingway’s Absinthe Cooler (Midori, Hutong Iced Tea, Lemon Juice, Absinthe, and lemonade), this was perfect for digestion, offering a refreshing yet sweet kick to the Dim Sum, and of course, i do love absinthe for lunch! We also tried the award-winning Nuwong (Snow Queen Vodka, cucumber, chili, leeches and lime), feminine, light and beautifully served.
The menu at Hutong adopts tradition in every sense, there are no western twists, so come with an open mind and look for a new taste experience. We ordered the Roasted Peking Duck, served as is traditional in two stages. Juicy thick duck slices are carved off the bone in front of you, the crunchy fat glistening in front of your eyes, waiting to be devoured! The duck is complimented with rich homemade sauce, spring onions and cucumber, which you hand wrap in a pancake. The second course is much lighter; stir-fried duck with crunchy vegetables, wrapped in lettuce leaves.
Their a la carte menu is beaming with choices, the crispy soft-shell crab with Sichuan dried chilli’s came out trumps, all eyes was focused on this killer dish, served in a giant wooden bowl with handle to pass around the table, it demands your attention, you have to rummage through giant dried chilli’s to find broken legs, that’s after you have engulfed the spicy and moist bodies!
Lambs ribs are also a signature dish at Hutong, the lamb taste was profound, layered and textured. Sides of seafood rice and lotus root fried with chilli and green peppers were served. The lotus root got my mouth hooked; the effect of the Sichuan chilli is called Ma La (Meaning numbing). The alternating flavors and chilli vibrations were fantastic. If you like fire in your food then this should be your new home.
Hutong are offering a decadent New Year’s Eve menu. With the ultimate view of the Mayor of London’s fireworks from the 33rd floor of The Shard. Dinner Tickets £345 (Tables of 4 to 5 guests only, all other tables now sold out).