Hutong Shard is one of those very hard to get bookings. My mother was visiting for the bank holiday weekend with my aunt from Brasil and I wanted to take them somewhere fun. I usually don’t fall for the “amazing view” places as they tend to be tourist traps in most cities. In London, it had not been my experience at either Duck and Waffle (http://duckandwaffle.com/) or Oblix (http://www.samstewartetc.com/tag/oblix/) where I actually had two great meals.
I was hoping Hutong could combine food and setting. The restaurant is in the Shard, in the same building as Oblix, but feels very far removed when it comes to service or food which didn’t deliver like the downstairs sibling. Hutong is definitely gorgeous, the dining area is very small actually (mystery solved on why it is so hard to get a table) and the bar is loud and buzzy. The drinks are very good but don’t make you drunk enough to fool you when it comes to the food. The meal was overall blah I would say. Dishes looked good but didn’t wow in the least. The menu is long but nothing really jumps off the page and yells “eat me!”.
What we ate:
Scallops with pomelo: they were nice and raw beautiful white slices with segments of pomelo sprinkled on top. It looked plain, and tasted plain as well.
Veggie spring rolls: boooooring!!! Fried things are usually not as boring as this, could it be because they were veggie? They were served with a little sauce that was essential to made it slightly more interesting just tasted like fried (to be fair, nicely crispy and not greasy) wrapper.
Dim sum sampler: actually this dish was very good, the dim sum skin was translucent and perfectly enveloped four different types of fillings including shrimp, crab (best one), veggie (bland) and scallop & pumpkin. They have other dim sum on the evening menu but they are mostly meat and I was sharing with my mom who felt like seafood mostly. We tried to order a portion of just the crab one afterwards as we were still hungry but they wouldn’t do that.
Spicy minced pork with green beans: this was good but the green beans were a little overly fried. Spicy bits of minced pork on top of pan fried green beans. Nice kick to it.
Sautéed crispy beef and chilli with carrot, celery and garlic: ewwww! Overly fried long strips of beef mixed with carrots and other veggies. The beef was almost tough like jerky from being overly fried and the entire dish was coated with a massive dose of honey. From reading, we expected spicy from the chilli and not dessert like sweet beef.
Steamed cod with soy: beautiful pieces of fish with a light soy broth. Again, a good dish but not new or innovative. The only reason we ordered was because nothing else jumped off the page and we were still hungry.
Shredded chicken with coriander: nicely seasoned and very light. To be fair, my aunt ordered this as her main but with no heat so a bit of unfair to judge – well seasoned and delicate.
Service was not great. The food came faster than the drinks and the waiter was a bit arrogant. He didn’t seem excited about the menu and didn’t suggest any must orders when we asked.
We decided to skip dessert and try to have some downstairs, but it was Friday night at the Shard – impossible to find a seat for dessert in the bar area.
In Sum: many better places for a meal with a view in London. If you want delicious Chinese, go to Pearl Liang (http://www.pearlliang.co.uk/london/restaurant/index.asp) instead. See my review on http://www.samstewartetc.com/pearl-liang/
Hutong Shard http://www.hutong.co.uk/
Level 33 The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY