A couple of weeks ago, I finally managed to get myself a table at Hutong Shard, the Northern Chinese counterpart of Aqua Shard, which is situated two floors lower in the iconic London landmark. When I reviewed Aqua Shard a few months ago, I was so in awe and wrote such a glowing review certain friends and family members even asked me whether I had been paid to write that review – I can assure you I was not, I simply was in love. In love with the building, the view, the setting and of course the food!
Since then, I’ve returned to Aqua Shard a couple of times for drinks in the bar, so I guess I’ve become a little more immune to the view (not that much, it’s still jawdroppingly beautiful), so I could focus a little more on my visit to Hutong. Having said that, if you’re going to be offended by another glowing review, look away now, because the food at Hutong impressed me even more than Aqua Shard.
Based on the 33rd floor of The Shard, you enter Hutong through the same 32nd floor entrance as Aqua Shard, immediately impressing visitors with an incredible 3-level view over London. Hutong is a floor up, Aqua Shard is one down. Where Aqua Shard is all about the light, the view, the high ceilings and sleek minimalist design, Hutong is the complete opposite: bamboo ceilings, dark wooden features everywhere, red lanterns and even an indoor wishing tree all add to the authentic Asian feel of the restaurant, despite the fact it’s based in a modern glass cube. We got there after the sun went down and it is very darkly lit (hence some issues taking pictures) and as there’s lots of different sections, at no point do you feel like you’re surrounded by other guests, making this a great, romantic date place.
It may not have been a romantic date with me and Mama Loves, but oh did we fall in love. With the food, that is… Opting to share, we went for a dim sum platter as a starter, which was absolutely flawless. The main event, however, was the Peking Duck, served in 2 stages as it is done traditionally – a first for me. A chef carves the duck at the table, focusing mostly on the crispy skin, to be eaten with pancakes and plum sauce. He then takes the carcass back into the kitchen where the remaining meat is wok fried with vegetables, eaten in a lettuce leaf. I’m not a duck eater, so I ordered the crispy beef, but must admit I went wild over the duck and devoured half of my mom’s dish instead. The crispy beef was also a winner though – very very sweet and crunchy – but if there’s one dish to have at Hutong, it has to be the duck. At £58 for a whole duck it’s definitely not cheap, but we had a half one between us and to be honest, it would’ve been enough.
Could you find cheaper in Chinatown? Probably, but the wow-factor more than makes up for that. The service is friendly, the food’s impeccable and the view… well, we all know I love that view. I’ve already booked a table to go back in a couple of weeks, that should say enough.
Hutong at The Shard
31 St. Thomas Street
London SE1 9RY
Dim Sum Sharing Platter
Peking Duck – first course
Peking Duck – second course
Looking down at Aqua Shard