If you haven’t already marked your culinary calendars – Restaurant Week is taking place from 28 July to 6 August 2017.
New to Restaurant Week? Get excited: it’s a biannual, budget-friendly 10 days of special (read: very value-for-money) set menus at top restaurants brought to you by online reservation platform DiningCity and China Construction Bank (Asia).
Even if you’re a Restaurant Week veteran, you’ll be glad to know that there’re always new dining destinations joining the party. Enter: Hutong – Aqua Restaurant Group’s sophisticated take on traditional Chinese cuisine, set amidst stunning interiors featuring antique Chinese design elements and panoramic views of the Victoria Harbour.
Want to dine fine without the fancy price tag? Act fast. Hutong is now offering a $198 set lunch as part of Restaurant Week. Here’s what you can expect:
To start, diners can choose three dim sum from a selection of five. The Steamed matsutake mushroom Bao was a standout – beautifully crisp on the exterior (so that it looks just like the crackled brown surface of a mushroom), the soft bun contained just the right amount of a delicious diced matsutake mushroom filling.
The other dim sum offerings were equally well-executed: the Steamed siu mai topped with scallop and crab roe was an indulgent take on the classic yumcha staple; while the Poached wonton served with garlic & chili sauce went down a treat with everyone at the table. I’m not usually a fan of lamb, but found myself enjoying the Lamb and scallion dumplings. The taste of lamb can often be too overpowering, but in this case, it was pleasantly balanced out by the dumpling dough and Hutong’s fiery chilli paste. And if fried food is up your alley – the Vegetarian spring rolls filled with mushrooms & cabbage will hit the spot. The toughest part will be deciding which of three dim sum dishes to try - choose wisely!
Diners again choose three dishes from five; this time, you can probably take your pick based on whether or not you’re a fan of spicy food.
The Singaporean in me loves my chili, so I thoroughly enjoyed the Ma la spicy prawns and Assorted mushrooms, eggplant and tofu in a Sichuan chili pepper broth. The prawns served in a bed of dried chili shells but don’t let its appearance scare you, the spice level in this dish is definitely manageable, and provides a zesty kick to the fresh, fleshy prawns coated in just the right amount of crisp batter. The Sichuan chili pepper broth, on the other hand, is a deliciously spicy vegetarian stew. You might, however, want to stay away if you don’t enjoy the numbing burn of Sichuan chili peppers.
To avoid the heat, choose the Braised Mandarin fish fillet in sweet and sour sauce – unlike the dime-a-dozen cheaper versions, the fish used here is fresh and there is thankfully more fish than starchy batter; or the Black truffle chicken fried with Yunnan mushroom – where the truffle adds some pizzazz to an otherwise ordinary dish. If you want some vegetables, you won’t go wrong with the Pea sprouts poached in chicken broth.
Diners can then choose between Black truffle fried noodles with vegetables and black fungus or Minced pork fried rice with chili black bean paste and egg. I’m a truffle fan so the udon-style fried noodles were my favourite. That said, the fried rice was equally tasty if that’s your carb-of-choice and if you’re still able to stomach more spice after the Sichuan chili pepper broth.
For dessert, the Crispy glutinous rice dumplings with chocolate were a hit around the table. Designed to look like oranges, the bite-sized creations also sit in a bed of sugar mixed with cocoa powder, and are a delightful combination of fried, fluffy dough with a pop of chocolatey goodness. There’s also a Home-made tofu panna cotta, which offers a unique, Asian take on the traditional Italian dessert. And the Ooling ice cream is of course a great, cooling option to balance out the heat of the meal.
Go for it - the $198 Restaurant Week deal is unbeatable value given Hutong’s usual prices, the quality of food, and those stunning, panoramic views of Victoria Harbour.
Hutong: 28/F, One Peking, 1 Peking Road, TST, 3428 8342
For Restaurant Week reservations at Hutong click here
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation.