Last month, I was invited along to a bloggers lunch for the relaunch of Hutong’s dim sum lunch menu – while dim sum has been available for a while, much of the media focus and emphasis has been on its signature main dishes (mainly northern Chinese and Sichuan). Dim sum is definitely available at lunch times though (12-3 everyday) and being in the Shard, it’s highly likely that this is dim sum with the best view in London.
I’d not been to Hutong (the original Hutong in the Aqua Restaurant Group is in Hong Kong) nor The Shard before so yes, this was a bit of a treat! Up to the 33rd floor I went and I was then escorted to the restaurant’s entrance with its two lions.
Prior to opening for lunch, we got a tour of the restaurant, with its quirky furnishings (there are washbuckets and original signs from China and even a wall made of tea bricks). We even got a tour of the men’s loos and their (in)famous urinals with a view! It cannot be denied that the views are stunning.
We ended the tour at the bar where cocktails were being made for us. Their cocktail menu is quite fun – all the ingredients are listed with their supposed health benefits (according to Chinese beliefs).
I stuck to something without alcohol – I don’t think this had a name but it was lovely! Not sure how much those berries were going to help me healthwise though!
After drinks, we were ushered to our table – by this time, the restaurant was starting to fill with others there for the dim sum too. A number of teas were offered for us to drink with our dim sum – we sampled a 2005 Puer tea, a Monkey pick Tie-Guan-Yin and a White Peony. I loved them all, especially the last white tea; the waiters were especially attentive as to what tea you had in your cup and ours brought me an extra cup to sample more than one at a time. Then the dishes started arriving.
Crispy Peking duck rolls were well filled and very prettily presented.
Both Pan-fried lamb and fennel seed dumplings…
… and Pan-fried mixed vegetable dumplings were excellent toothsome morsels.
The Crispy shrimp rolls with thousand year egg was one of my favourite things that afternoon with the egg and shrimp nicely balanced with a sliver of pickled ginger.
Shanghai-style xiao long bao were very good though I’d have preferred it if the filling had been a little bit more compact.
Vegetable and bamboo pith dumplings were some of the nicest vegetable dim sum dishes I’d had in London. There was a good and non gloopy mixture of vegetables inside.
Spicy minced pork dumplings could have used with a bit more spice! I like them firey. Luckily the homemade chilli oil also provided is excellent.
Rose champagne shrimp dumplings – you couldn’t taste any champagne but they were still like good har gow.
In addition to the usual dumplings, we were treated to an order of the restaurant’s famous signature dish of Red Lantern crispy soft shell crab with Sichuan dried chilli. This was gorgeous (I absolutely adore soft shell crab though) and packed a gentle amount of heat, despite the plethora of dried chilies in which they swam.
And then there were desserts too! From the dim sum menu came both Steamed egg custard buns…
… and Mini black sesame glutinous dumplings. I preferred the latter, all soft and chewy. The former had almost solid custard inside – I prefer it more hot and melting, like sweet yellow lava!
All this would have totaled to a much more affordable price than I expected – £29.25 a head. It’s not too bad, especially if you’re trying to impress someone. However, if you can really pack it in, you might find portion sizes a little on the delicate side.
It was a lovely meal. Thank you very much to Hugh from Hutong for the invitation!
Level 33 The Shard
31 St. Thomas Street
London SE1 9RY