In the midst of a torrential downpour Josie & I braved the slippery streets of HK on a mission to make it to Hutong on time for our dinner reservation. As part of the Aqua restaurant group, and having heard only good things about the northern-Chinese restaurant both in London and Hong Kong, I knew that we were in for a treat. Hutong is located one floor below Aqua (where I’ve visited (and loved) for both brunch and dinner) in the 1 Peking Road tower, offering the same exceptional views of the Hong Kong skyline.
A little rain never hurt anyone and in fact it only added to the atmosphere for our evening. Hutong’s decor is truly beautiful mirroring that of a traditional Beijing courtyard house, with terracotta tiling, red paper lanterns, plentiful hand-carved wooden antique furniture and a stunning wishing tree in the entrance of the restaurant. The dim lighting helps magnify the unique Chinese interior making it the kind of special restaurant to which you want to bring guests.
Josie & I were fortunate to have prime positioning to enjoy both the restaurant’s low-lit buzzy ambience and watch the rain spatter against the floor-to-ceiling windows. We started our meal with traditional minced chicken & sweetcorn soup ($68) and signature green asparagus coated with white sesame ($168) (all prices in HKD $). The chicken & sweetcorn soup was the best I’ve had, flavoursome and very fresh tasting (contrary to your usual local Chinese) with the soup a pleasing consistency without being gloopy. It was both comforting and moreish. The asparagus was served cold, though not a criticism it was a surprise with the crunchy stalks cooked to perfection and the white sesame providing tasty nutty flavour. I did enjoy it, but do think that it was a little simple for the price tag so probably would not order it again.
The ½ crispy boneless Peking duck ($388) was absolutely epic. Served entirely differently to the other high-end crispy duck with pancakes that I’ve experienced in Hong Kong at 3-Michelin starred Lung King Heen and private members club The China Club, Hutong’s offering did not showcase the renowned delicate glossy skin associated with Cantonese-style roasted duck (as served at its fellow peers), but rather the kind of crispy skinned duck commonplace and famous in Beijing (previously named Peking). The meat was succulent and the skin thick & crisp without being at all greasy, it was absolutely heavenly.
Josie & I then shared the Kung Po chili prawns fried with cashew nuts and sweet Shaoxing wine sauce ($298), sautéed assorted vegetables with garlic, carrot, bamboo shoot, kale, fungus and lily bulbs ($158) and egg white fried rice with crushed conpoy ($158). Kung Po prawns are my go-to at a Chinese restaurant and I loved how plump and expertly cooked these prawns were, coated in the well-balanced sweet & spicy sauce and sitting atop so many cashews that I could have cried with joy (I am obsessed with nuts, especially cashews), so this dish made me a very happy customer.
The assorted veggies were crunchy with simple seasoning, so as to let their natural flavours shine. We particularly enjoyed the lily bulbs which were new to us both and the “fungus” (really, could they not just call it mushroom?) which was very delicious. The rice was tasty and a decent sized portion for the price, it certainly would have served a couple more diners, and though it was perfectly good I’m not sure why the yolk was removed. Regardless, we agreed everything was excellent and loved the “freshness” of the food (which is usually my main reservation when it comes to Chinese food).
Service was faultless, the surroundings very special and the food superb; I would go back in a heartbeat, especially with visitors in tow. The private dining room is also undoubtedly one of the most impressive settings that I could imagine enjoying a meal and the perfect place to enjoy the daily 8pm “Symphony of Lights” show. Hutong certainly has the “wow factor” and serves the best “western-Chinese” food (i.e. Chinese food tailored for western tastes) in Hong Kong. I loved it.
Have you been to Hutong, either in London or Hong Kong? What did you think? Have you tried and do you like “real” Chinese food? Chinese is (sadly!) my least favourite Asian cuisine but I could definitely get on board with the standard of food I enjoyed at Hutong! xo