Lauren and I have become such good friends over the past year and we thought it was time to introduce the blogger boyfriends / husbands to each. A double date where they could commiserate together over the downsides to dating a blogger; cold food, social media addictions and macaron obsessions… Actually Mr S and Andy ended up having quite a few things in common so we could leave them chatting while Lauren and I caught up.
I’d been saving a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Rosé for us to enjoy before heading off for the night, and after a few glasses and some smoked salmon nibbles, we went out for dinner. I’d booked us into Hutong at The Shard, a restaurant that I’d wanted to try for ages but hadn’t been able to get a reservation…
The restaurant is located on the 33rd floor of The Shard and with floor to ceiling windows, we were greeted by a beautiful sunset as soon as we arrived. Setting the tone for a good night, we ordered a bottle of Veuve Cliquot to carry on the champagne-guzzling shenanigans.
Champagne and sunsets aside, I was hugely impressed by the venue, red hanging lanterns and dark wood gives a Asian feel to the place. But you can’t beat the beautiful panoramic view of the city that fills the windows…
With a menu of North Chinese food, we were spoilt for choice and it was genuinely difficult to decide. My love of dim sum drew my attention immediately to the dim sum platter which includes cod and seaweed dumplings, XO sauce and crystal prawn, rosé champagne shrimp and assorted vegetables. The dumplings were every bit as good as the ones we sampled in Hong Kong, speaking of which the original Hutong is in Hong Kong and is part of the Aqua Restaurant Group.
Crispy prawn rolls with mixed vegetables were absolutely delicious and I preferred them to the usual vegetable pancake rolls.
Peking Duck is alway a must order for Mr S, it’s literally his favourite thing at a Chinese restaurant, and at Hutong you can order it whole or half. I suggested half might be better this time as I find duck so filling that it leaves me unable to try much more. The duck is brought to the table and carved with a flourish as you watch, and then laid in delicate slices for you to construct with the requisite pancakes, cucumber and hoisin sauce.
Now I know duck is fatty, but honestly this is the most fat I’ve ever seen under the skin and I definitely had to remove some of it to enjoy the meat. The duck itself was really flavoursome and perfectly cooked but HKK still holds the crown for me as being the best duck in London.
The remainder of the duck is minced and mixed with nuts and vegetables and a light sauce and then eaten wrapped in lettuce. A really tasty way to finish it off and we’d actually enjoyed a very similar preparation at three Michelin-starred Lung King Heen in Hong Kong.
My absolute favourite dish of the night is one that has become a signature feature at Hutong. The Red Lantern is served dramatically in a wooden casket and you need to search through the Sichuanese chilli to find the absolutely delicious soft shell crab. I love the theatre of the presentation and it’s certainly not style over substance as the food is incredible too.
Our final dish was Hunan-style lobster, juicy hunks of seafood mixed with chilli was just exceptionally good but we were getting full. So full in fact that Lauren and I had to break the food blogger rules and forgo dessert despite there being a mango pudding calling my name! There was of course room for more drinks so we headed into the bar, keen to keep the night going and admire the beautiful London skyline.
Mr S and I loved Hutong and it was even better enjoying it on a double date with Lauren and Andy.
PIN FOR LATER:
Hutong at The Shard
31 St Thomas Street