I can’t believe it has already been five years since one of the most iconic London Chinese restaurants opened in the Shard, changing the dining experience for the foreseeable future. Once you had visited Hutong, you certainly wouldn’t look at London or the Chinese cuisine in the same way. The views are to die for and i’ve experienced some of the most surreal sunsets to date whilst indulging in some of the finest, Chinese food i’ve ever eaten. Bold statement, I know, but it can be easily validated.
As a commemoration and celebration to Hutong’s fifth birthday, the fantastic team of chefs have carefully curated a tasting menu showcasing some of Hutong’s finest dishes over the years. However, this isn’t your average tasting menu, you better come prepared with those stretchy trousers and having only had a salad for lunch, because not only is it a feast, it’s a real treat for your tastebuds too. All the flavours are carefully selected and combined to create this perfect harmony for all your senses with every bite.
I met with Shikha from Why Waste Annual Leave who was my partner in crime and dining companion for the evening. It was the perfect opportunity to catch up, as I hadn’t seen Shikha for many months and what a place to do it too!
Starting our meal my favourite way, especially with the extremely warm weather in London at the moment, a ice-cold glass of champagne was welcomed with open arms and a large grin.
Shikha on the other hand went for one of Hutong’s signature mocktail’s ‘Monkey Business’. It was made with monkey picked tea syrup, lemon juice, pineapple juice and grenadine, giving it a gorgeous deep red colour.
As Shikha and I began to catch up, we were brought out our starters to enjoy whilst we nattered. The first starter was delicious, crunchy bamboo shoots dressed with homemade chilli oil. I’m also a huge fan of Hutong’s chilli oil after I was given a bottle as gift on my last visit, it’s the most authentic chilli oil I have ever tried, that’s for sure.
Soon after, Shikha and I were both brought out individual portions of dumplings, which included a variety of four different dumplings. I had mine in a clockwise direction, starting with the braised mushroom dumpling with black truffle, followed by the steamed cod fillet dumpling with tonburi, then the XO sauce crystal prawn dumpling and finally the cuttlefish and shrimp dumpling with squid ink and smelt egg.
I know most of you are probably thinking, Aftab ate seafood? I’ll be honest, Hutong is one of the few places I actually don’t mind eating seafood, because often enough I cannot taste the usual ‘fishy’ taste that that comes with seafood. It’s always cooked so well and with so many flavour, it’s hard not to enjoy it!
Finishing up our starters, we moved onto the mains with a theatrical experience, the carving of the roasted Peking duck.
There is nothing I love more than well cooked Peking duck, especially when the skin is perfectly crisp and the meat is cooked through and perfectly tender.
Did someone say Peking duck pancakes? Yes please!
The homemade pancakes were soft and delicate, which made for an ideal light shell to ensure all the flavour came through with each bite. Step by step, spreading hoisin sauce onto the smooth pancakes, before adding a small helping of shredded spring onions and cucumber, finally adding a couple of pieces of sliced duck. I was on my way to creating the most delectable and ever so moreish duck pancake. I’m drooling just thinking about them…
The pancakes felt like the ‘starter’ of the mains section, as we were then brought out crispy soft shell crab with Sichuan dried chillies in a red lantern. Such a unique and authentic way to serve up the dish!
We were then served beef fillet in a hot and sour broth, with seafood fried rice that contained dried salted fish and ginger and a side of wok tossed choy sum. Delicious!
However, as Shikha doesn’t eat beef, the lovely Hutong team created a similar dish using prawns, which Shikha throughly enjoyed.
After all the divine and flavoursome food, we definitely had to take a break between finishing our mains and dessert because missing such a heavenly dessert wasn’t even an option. It was time for our dessert stomaches to come into action…
Finishing up our meal with a heavenly chocolate tart, mandarin sorbet and an equally sublime sunset over London to match. Total bliss…
It was the perfect way to end a smashing meal at Hutong, with some of the most attentive service and amazing company too. We left with full stomaches and feeling completely content from our fantastic evening.
If you haven’t been to Hutong before, you certainly need to visit for dinner and drinks – you won’t be disappointed!
Until next time…