Situated on the 33rd floor of London’s tallest building, The Shard, is the impressive restaurant Hutong. Hutong is an award-winning restaurant from the Aqua restaurant group, serving a range of tantalising Northern Chinese food. My first observation as I walked into the restaurant was of its stunning uninterrupted views of the city.
I was lucky enough to be seated right next to the window which overlooked numerous landmarks such as St Pauls Cathedral and The London Eye. Arriving just before sunset I was able to experience the view and the ambiance of the restaurant, both by day and by night, and even if though it was a little smoggy I witnessed a beautiful sunset. Therefore if you wish to experience the same, I would without a doubt recommend you schedule your visit during this time.
The restaurant is very spacious which in the current climate really made me feel more comfortable and safe. All guests are required to wear face coverings when arriving and walking to different areas of the restaurant and numerous hand sanitising stations are available throughout.
Although minimally decorated, its dark hues, black carved wooden furniture and sporadic red lanterns provide an intimate and luxurious setting which came alive as the sun went down. The addition of a wishing tree adjacent to the bar, where guests can hang their personal wishes after dinner was a really nice touch and it actually pays homage to the famous Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees in Hong Kong. As soon as I arrived the staff were extremely attentive and friendly and went out of their way to provide in-depth information regarding the highly recommended dishes.
Prior to the meal, I chose a couple of cocktails from their extensive Chinese inspired menu which range from £15-£18 each. “Comfortably Numb” is a sweet, spicy and sour combination of Stoly Vanilla, lychee liquer, fresh chilli, Sichuan pepper honey and lime. “Make a Wish” is a zesty sweet mixture with Tanqueray, Kam & Sons, pomelo, vanilla syrup, lime juice and RICH Veuve Clicquot. Both were delicious and were the perfect pre dinner drinks that paired perfectly with the restaurants vibe.
Although there were numerous dishes to choose from I opted for the ‘signature dinner’, a set menu that includes an array of fish, meat and vegetarian choices. First up was a selection of three dumplings (pictured above) including Lobster dumpling with Sichuan Chilli Sauce, Mushroom Spinach dumpling and a Wagyu Beef mille-feuille. Each were delicious in their own way, however the one that personally stood out for me was the mille-feuille as the pastry was light and flakey, whilst the Wagyu beef was full of flavour and melted in the mouth.
Following the dumplings was the impressive Calamari Flowers; tender squid piled in the centre of a deep red puddle of delicious Sichuan peppercorn and chilli oil. The squid was intricately cut providing an elegant slant to the dish and its sweet delicate flavour paired well with the spiciness of the oil. I found this to be a light and uplifting dish that really refreshed the palate and really paved the way for the next dish.
Next to delight our taste buds was one of the restaurants renowned dishes, Roasted Peking duck with pancakes. A platter of thinly sliced duck, a selection of sliced vegetables and a basket of steamed pancakes combine to create a delicious sweet, smoky and crunchy fusion. The duck was the obvious highlight with its composition of crispy skin, moist meat and flavoursome marinade.
It was back to seafood for the next course, with impressive wok-tossed tiger prawns covered in a flavoursome amalgamation of breadcrumbs, pepper and onion. The succulent prawns were generous in size and the crumb provided an added texture to the soft juicy meat of the seafood. Personally, this was one of my favourite dishes and left me wanting more, even though I was relatively full by this stage.
I was excited to see that Wagyu beef was included in the next dish as previously the Wagyu Mille-Fiulle had made such an impression. This dish had the same effect on me and from the first bite I was elated with its delectable combination of flavours. This dish included Wagyu beef in hot & sour broth accompanied by chef’s egg rice with picked vegetables and braised Chinese mustard greens with evaporated milk broth. I love anything spicy and this dish definitely had the kick, however the accompanying dishes really helped balance the flavours and heat. Again the beef was tenderly moreish and it was great to taste another Hutong interpretation of it.
Dessert is always my favourite part of any meal, so it was a shame that there was only one option on this particular menu. I had the chocolate tart with mandarin sorbet which for me although delectable, seemed to be a little rich and heavy after the previous courses. However, the addition of the sorbet did provide an uplifting freshness that paired well with decadent chocolate filling.
In order to cleanse the palate so to speak, I wandered through to their Shanghai Bar which exudes the same relaxed ambience and sophistication of the restaurant with alternative views to of the city.
At £95 per person and it may be perceived as a little extravagant, but personally I think the meal is worth every penny. Each of the dishes from the signature dinner menu are generous in size, beautifully executed and varied, giving you a captivating taste journey that keeps you wanting more and more. Along with the exceptional customer service and astounding views of London, it all comes together to create an exceptional culinary experience and a definite night to remember.
A special thanks to Restaurant Manager Manos and his staff for making me feel so welcome on my first visit to Hutong.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Customer Service 4.5/5
Value for Money 4/5