Hutong occupies floor 33 of the Shard and for a lover of sky-high dining, such panoramic views of the City are unparalleled from the south side of the river.
The decor is as impressive as you would expect here, with ornately carved dark wooden chairs and wood panelling, red lantern and green palm leaf table settings complete with a wishing tree in the centre of the restaurant, adorned with lucky red wishing cards. I had all but decided before I’d even arrived that I wanted to try the set menu.
First came the jade tofu and halibut soup and I have to say I have never tasted anything quite like this. The strong halibut flavour certainly came through but what was so unique about this soup was the texture,- it was almost gel-like and very slow to run off the spoon. Not my favourite but rather an interesting one!
I am no connoisseur but the dim sum tasted as excellent as it looked and it really is such brilliant value to be able to sample all four of these dumplings within the reasonably priced tasting menu. Here we have the king crab and courgette dumpling, the cod and seaweed dumpling with tobiko, the tiger prawn and black truffle dumpling and the vegetable and bamboo pith(?!) dumpling. Delicious with the chilli table sauces and one of the highlights of the meal. On the subject of dim sum, next time I will certainly be ordering the rose champagne shrimp dumplings because don’t those sound amazing.
The main courses all arrived together, consisting of the Ma la baby cuttlefish fried with dried chilli, Sichuan pepper and Chinese celery, Wok fried chicken with Sichuan black bean and ginger sauce, pickled vegetable fried rice with egg and Wok tossed Choy Sum. These all complimented each other well and were such generous portions for two people. The chicken was tender, seasoned beautifully in a sweet black bean sauce and the cuttlefish was flavoursome and incredible, probably my favourite part of this menu. Honestly, like the fanciest calamari-esque dish you’ve ever tasted!
I have a lot of appreciation for staff that make an extra effort to make your celebration special, and knowing we were there to celebrate a birthday it was so lovely to receive a complimentary birthday treat! I didn’t try this one but am told it resembled something like a passion fruit panna cotta and was very tasty indeed.
Whilst the a la carte menu prices can be eye-watering, at just £35 per person I would highly recommend this tasting lunch menu, particularly for a first visit to Hutong as this was for me. The food is made from outstanding ingredients, is beautifully presented and I left feeling so full, I practically needed rolling down to Borough Market and then South Bank afterwards. Bar the soup, I loved everything.
For those of you who wish to venture beyond the set menu, dishes also coming highly recommended by our dining companions include the braised beef, fried chicken fillet with Sichuan dried chilli, minced pork and fennel seed dumpling, mixed vegetables dumplings and fried noodles with seasonal vegetables. Finally, although we didn’t try it and it costs a pretty penny at £58, the Peking duck looked enormously impressive, carved at the table by a very special chef whose sole duty appeared to be monitoring the ducks, all hanging on a line behind a decorative glass screen.
Ps. Definitely visit the toilets, you will not be disappointed!