Hutong London opens

Jun 30, 13 Hutong London opens
our table with a view, Hutong

our table with a view

Last week, I was invited to Hutong London up on the 33rd floor of the Shard for (a preview of the) spectacular view and dinner. I was a bit skeptical as the big draw seemed to be the view ( and usually, if the view is good, the food is not) but really, go for the food and  THEN the view – although the view is pretty damn spectacular…

Tower Bridge at sunset, Hutong

Tower Bridge at sunset

Dining at Hutong is definitely an experience starting with the gracious welcome that greets you as you come off the elevators. Service is unassuming, genuine and discreet, everything you want from a  restaurant. Once we picked up ours jaws off the floor from admiring the views, we headed to the bar which sits in a corner overlooking the Thames and Tower Bridge with Canary Wharf in the distance. even though we weren’t at the top of the Shard, in a way the views are better because you can actually distinguish what you’re looking at rather then just a panorama at your feet.

cocktails and the Gherkin

cocktails and the Gherkin

We started off with a visit to the bar where we had a corner table smack dab against that glass wall. There we had a few of their signature cocktails before heading to our table. If you are afraid of heights, I would suggest requesting an inner table, as the tables are literally against the glass wall.  The upside though is that due to the Shard’s angular design, it never really feels like your standing or sitting on the edge of a precipice. I loved all the glass walls and the amazing views at every turn.

London Bridge, platform 5

looking down on London Bridge, platform 5

Hutong is the second offering from ex-banker turned restauranteur, Alan Yeo.  Hutong specializes in sophisticated Northern Chinese cuisine but doesn’t ignore the traditional favourites, such as Pekin Duck or a plate of scrumptious dumplings. Our server told us that they have a chef whose only job is to make the pastry for the dumplings and pancakes. They were some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had with Pekin duck, soft and silky, I don’t know if I’ve ever had such

chef carving the Pekin Duck, Hutong

chef getting ready to carve the Pekin Duck

Pekin Duck, Hutong

Pekin Duck

Besides the Pekin Duck, which was carved table side by the chef, we also had a plate of dim sum dumplings filled with the plumpest shrimp…

dim sum dumpling, Hutong

dim sum dumpling

…and spring rolls to start…

 

spring rolls, Hutong

spring rolls, Hutong

…as well as a very fresh and light plate of thin pork and cucumber slices…

pork and cucumber slices, Hutong

pork and cucumber slices

The star of the dinner had to be the Red Lantern crab. The crab is fried with what seems like 5 pounds of round red chillies and then served in the lantern with the crab hidden amongst the chillies. It was fun to hunt around the chillies for the tender, perfectly fried crab. But be warned, it is definitely a spicy dish and I would not recommend even taking a nibble out of the chillies -they are smokin’ hot!

Red lantern crab, Hutong

Red lantern crab

After dinner, the sun had set and we descended the stairs to the 31st floor where the bar, Aqua is located. Standing at the bar overlooking the lights of London, drinking my favourite  – Manhattan on the rocks (which they do excellently), I didn’t want to leave but the last train would be departing soon and I had to be on it. Aqua has a very NYC vibe to it, but perhaps that was the Manhattan taking effect. It’s a great spot for drinks either before or after dinner and you don’t need reservations to drink at Aqua.

Aqua bar, London

Aqua bar, London

Regardless, dinner at Hutong was fabulous –  I would certainly recommend it not just for the views but also for the food.

London Bridge at night

London Bridge at night

Hutong is now open and Aqua opens on July 1st.

Hutong is located on the 33rd floor, Bankside,  the Shard, SE1 2TH

0207 478 0540

 

 

 

 

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