A gorgeous private dining room, incredible views looking out across London and some of my favourite fellow bloggers. I last visited Hutong back in 2013 when all my photos were taken on a 5 megapixel brick of a mobile phone and quite honestly I just didn’t fall in love with the food. Don’t get me wrong, it was very nice – but it didn’t leave me longing to come back. Four years later and I’ve returned. There’s a new head chef named Fei Wang and an exciting new menu to go with it. Chef Fei Wang is originally from Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province and so expect his mastery of all things hot and spicy to leave your palate tantalised. He’s also only 36, yet cooks as if he’s being doing it for centuries.
While waiting for everyone to arrive for dinner we enjoyed a glass (or two) of delicious Veuve Cliquot while admiring the incredible views of London and suddenly the sky slowly started to open up for us from what had so far been a rather grey day. Hutong is 33 floors high and so for those afraid of heights – you may not want to look down!
With the Champagne flowing, canapes started to arrive and oh my they were good! In fact, were these the best restaurant canapes of 2017? If this was my private event and this is what was served – I’d have been very happy indeed. Vegetarian spring rolls were served on beautiful bamboo serving plates and each bite utter heaven, but my favourite was the crispy prawn rolls. Huge chunks of juicy king prawns, wrapped with vegetables and a golden coated crumb. I really do hope these are on the main menu for my next visit.
The dim sum here at Hutong is world-class. I wasn’t sure what to expect and hadn’t actually tried any on my previous visits, but all I was left thinking after was – wow. The cod and seaweed dumplings with tobiko were absolutely stunning, but for me the star was the pink coloured tiger prawn and black truffle parcels which were in one word – legendary. More huge juicy prawns, a firm casing holding everything inside well and a truffle flavour running through everything like silk.
Once we sat down, read over the menu and dishes started to arrive – we knew it was going to be one of those never-ending meals. Our huge table began to fill with some of the most amazing dishes. Chinese asparagus hearts with Hula dressing as a dish was so fresh and very silky in the mouth. I loved that signature “Hula dressing” too which was rich in fiery chilli, peppercorn and hot roasted oil.
Another absolutely fantastic dish was the scallop and prawn wontons with a hot and deliciously spicy sauce, as well as those rather addictive pan-fried wagyu beef buns which were most likely the best fluffy buns I’ve ever eaten.
Of course no Chinese meal is ever truly complete without some crispy duck. North, South, East or West China – this is one dish familiar in every part of this country and something the rest of the world adores. Our master chef prepared the Peking duck table-side and words can’t describe just how good it was. Slithers of juicy duck meat and incredibly crispy skin – all served with pancakes, garnish and rich hoisin sauce.
Picking a favorite dish from our evening at Hutong was an impossible task as everything was so good, but a favourite of mine was these deep-fried morsels of juicy lobster meat, smothered in a richly flavoured mixture of Sichuan, red and green chillies, the most incredible salty black beans which were a highlight in themselves and a topping of fried garlic. So much flavour and so much care when cooking that sweet lobster.
One of the most impressive dishes here at Hutong right now is the one everyone should be ordering when visiting – red star noodles. A huge bowl of silky rice noodles in a rich and spicy Sichuan broth. A fillet of perfectly cooked halibut lay hiding at the centre of the bowl and concealed by sweet Chinese red peppers which are then slowly peeled backed to reveal the fish in the middle. It’s looks impressive and it tastes even better.
Aromatic beef rib braised in lotus leaf was yet another impressive dish and a plate of wok tossed choy sum was the perfect accompaniment – but once again another fish dish really made a big impression on me. Ma la crispy eel with Sichuan dried chilli and cumin was a real powerhouse. Big on flavour and a tear jerking spicy heat. This was a dish which convinced a return visit to Hutong needs to be sooner rather than later.
Almost midnight and a couple of cocktails later we sadly had to leave and it was with much regret doing so. I’m so glad I finally returned back to Hutong after all those years and chef Fei Wang has done an absolutely terrific job with this menu, turning Hutong into not just a destination restaurant for its views but also now its food. Together they create a truly magical dining experience high up in the sky. Hutong – we’ll see you soon!
NB: My meal was complimentary. All views are as always, my own. My views are not influenced by anyone other than my own palate and slightly poor eyesight.