With Chinese New Year just around the corner, my craving for Asian food was as intense as ever, and I was lucky enough to nab a last minute table for lunch at Hutong on the weekend. Located on the 33rd floor of The Shard, the restaurant boasts panoramic views over the capital’s skyline, the interior tastefully decorated with beautiful hand-carved wooden ‘Moon Gates’ and traditional Chinese red lanterns. As we entered, our eyes were drawn toward their stunning wishing tree, before being seated at our table by the window with front row views of the city, St Paul’s Cathedral standing out majestically in the distance.
Hutong’s cuisine takes its inspiration from the dishes served in the imperial palaces of what was then Peking, serving diverse cuisines of Northern China. We were initially tempted by the Experience Menu, but as we were feeling extra indulgent we both decided on the Hutong Signature Lunch menu instead.
The first course included a trio of delicate handmade dumplings; lobster dumpling with Sichuan chilli sauce, yam & pork crispy dumpling, and a mushroom spinach dumpling. Alongside the classics, they had an interesting list of Signature cocktails from which the lovely sommelier, Janna, kindly gave us some recommendations. Feeling spoilt for choice, in the end we settled for the ‘Make a Wish’ and the ‘Comfortably Numb’ which had a subtle hint of spice. Drinking tea tends to be the norm for us when we’re at a Chinese restaurant, so we ordered a pot of Pu erh tea to share between us.
Next was the half roasted Peking duck, thinly sliced and served with steamed pancakes, hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onions. This was followed by an enticing dish of wok-tossed king prawns on a bed of golden breadcrumbs mixed with pepper and onion – it was so moreish that we requested to keep the dish on the table to enjoy the breadcrumbs with our other dishes that followed after.
As my dining partner did not eat beef, instead of the wok-tossed beef tenderloin with green chilli, the kitchen kindly replaced this dish with a chilli chicken dish which was equally as delicious. This was served alongside a portion of egg fried rice with seasonal vegetables, and stir fried string beans with chilli.
For dessert, we were served a chocolate tart with mandarin sorbet to finish off our meal on a sweet note.
The Hutong Signature Lunch menu is priced at £59 per person, which although pricier than your usual Chinatown haunts, makes up for it in terms of quality and ambience.