While I hadn’t visited Hutong in TST before, it was on my radar. A friend had gone for a champagne birthday brunch and raved about it. I could understand why after arriving at their 28th floor location at 1 Peking Road. Firstly, the view is stunning. Just like its London outpost, the large space makes the most of its prime location facing the Island, with large floor-to-ceiling windows. Secondly, the interior design is very old Beijing in style. Everything from the traditional-looking wooden chairs, to the tabletop red lanterns, to the decorative clay vases tastefully fits the theme. It’s a funky, unique place to enjoy a long, leisurely brunch.
Hutong’s new Feng Wei brunch ($428/person) might require you to clear your afternoon because – get ready – there are 18 courses. The menu is neatly divided into appetisers (four dishes), dim sum (five dishes), hot dishes (five dishes) and dessert (four dishes).
This first section of the menu was light and fresh. We enjoyed the sliced squid with wasabi and cucumber salad in garlic-pepper sauce, though neither blew us away. The chicken with glass noodles in Sichuan chilli sauce was the most fragrant from this section; it was delicious without being too numbingly spicy. Our hopes were highest for the seared foie gras with osmanthus-smoked coddled egg, but we were disappointed when the dish was served cold. We felt this muted the flavours of what could have been an impressive starter.
Here the ingredients started to get fancy. The poached lobster wontons and pan-fried chicken dumplings were stuffed with high-quality ingredients that needed little seasoning to shine. We were also impressed by how thin the dough was for both. Though we have lots of love for the classic pork siu mai, the crab siu mai was delicious and had generous amounts of crabmeat. We loved the mushroom bao not for its pretty looks but for the texture of the bread. These were some of the lightest, fluffiest bao we’ve ever had. Our last dish in this section was the shrimp, kimchi and mozzarella spring rolls.
This is where we started to fall in love with the food at Hutong. We couldn’t stop eating the kung po fried cod fillets even though it was the first of the mains out and we had four more to go. Though each fillet was covered in sauce, the batter remained perfectly crisp. The sauce itself was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, without being cloyingly saccharine. The stir-fried chicken with shallots and black bean sauce was nice and savoury, a classic comfort-food dish. We thought the 12-hour braised beef rib could have been more tender, but the flavour was great, infused with the fragrance of lotus leaves. At this point we were 150 per cent full, but we had to try the soft-shell crabs with Sichuan dried chilli. We were so glad we did because this dish was fantastic. The fried crabs were very meaty and the batter was pleasantly spicy, having taken on the aroma from the pile of chillies surrounding them. Our last dish was a small plate of fragrant seasonal vegetables (pea shoots on our day), stir-fried with garlic: simple and delicious.
The dessert selection consisted of two types of crispyglutinous rice balls, homemade ice cream and steamed baos filled with egg yolk custard (not salted egg yolk). Of these, our favourite was the rice balls filled with milk chocolate.
For an extra $200, there is the option to add on bottomless Veuve Clicquot champagne and tea-infused cocktails. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin 2008 can also be had for $280 per person or Ruinart Rosé NV for $320 per person.
At $428, Hutong’s Feng Wei brunch is good value for money. There’s more food that one could possibly want to eat, the view is spectacular and the service is on point. With a number of private rooms, it’s also a rare restaurant that is just as suitable for hosting a raucous party for a 30th birthday or a 3rd birthday; I think Hutong was happily hosting both the day we went.
28/F, 1 Peking Rd, TST, 3428 8342
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.