We do not lack for glamorous restaurants in this city. For awhile, it seemed that a lot of the new high-end places were bathed in sleek neutrals, perhaps with a pop of colour or golden accent. Hutong is the latest glamorous restaurant to (re)open and is an OTT – but elegant – new addition, with a vibe unlike any other.
After spending nearly two decades at One Peking in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hutong is now located on the penthouse floor of the new H Zentre building, near The Peninsula and Sheraton, also in TST. As soon as guests step out from the lift, they’re greeted with handcrafted wooden panels and doors, glowing red silk lanterns and a traditional wishing tree. There are also a series of private dining rooms with moveable wooden panels to adjust the size of the room, an apothecary bar with traditional Chinese medicine drawers, an outdoor Moon Terrace that guests enter through a traditional moon gate to take in the panoramic views from 18 storeys high and a stunning main dining room (better organised and cosier than the previous location) with a long wall of traditional Yunnan tea bricks.
You could easily spend half an hour taking in the various tiny details that make up the beautiful new space.
But you’re probably there to eat and drink!
We started off with a Comfortably Numb cocktail ($158), made with vanilla vodka, lychee liqueur, Sichuan pepper honey and ruby red grapefruit. Fresh, yet deliciously mellow and creamy – a nice way to ease into the evening.
On to the food, we sampled tasting portions of various dishes.
In the dim sum platter ($218 for 8 pieces), you’ll find two each of the mala Sichuan dumpling, pickled pepper har gow (shrimp dumpling), seasonal vegetable and peach gum dumpling and steamed cod with black olive dumpling. These are inventive and prepared beautifully. Be sure to eat the har gow last – even for spice lovers, it packs quite the punch!
The charcoal yuxiang crispy pork dumplings ($88) are light and airy.
I think we all stopped talking when the seared scallop Pixian spicy soba noodles with sesame peppercorn sauce ($238) arrived. It’s the kind of dish you’d want all for yourself if you weren’t having multiple courses. It’s soft with crunchy bits, packed with garlic and sesame, lightly numbing and well balanced.
The flaming Peking duck ($438 for ½, $868 for whole) comes out on a trolley, and the chef puts on quite the show to impress guests. The duck is served with the traditional items of cucumber, scallion, hoisin sauce and Chinese pancakes, with some palate-cleansing hawthorn pickled radish on the side. Given the cheffy show and new vibe of the restaurant, I would have loved to see more inventiveness with the flavours or at least the option to order the Peking duck in a more creative style.
We also tried the mandarin fish in salted egg yolk broth with sizzling red and green pepper oil ($538), mala chilli prawns ($368), spiced minced pork with string beans and fennel seeds ($198; not pictured) and much-loved Red Lantern crispy soft-shell crab with Sichuan dried chilli ($468). These are all elevated classics presented beautifully, comfort food in a glam setting.
For dessert, we had the tofu panna cotta ($58), which is delectably creamy.
There’s no other restaurant in town quite like Hutong. The new location is gorgeous and would be a great place for celebratory drinks or a meal this season (book quickly; I tried a few dates, and they were already booked up!) and beyond. I’m keen to go back to try their new version of Fēng Wèi Brunch (from $788/person), as well as more of their innovative dim sum (like the beef brisket xiao long bao and pan-fried mapo tofu bao).
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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