I recently visited Hutong at The Shard to celebrate my belated birthday along with my good friend whose birthday falls around the same time as mine. We decided to glam up, just us girls, and lunch in style.
The Shard offers spectacular views of London, and if you don’t fancy splashing out on a meal then I recommend going for a drink or two at the Aqua Shard. You can’t book the bar (except if you are dining). However, if you don’t mind queuing up for a bit, you can still get to its really busy and atmospheric bar with the most outstanding and breathtaking views of London.
Having been to Aqua Shard a couple of times already, I felt this time I wanted the whole dining-with-a-view experience.
The lunch deal (4 courses at £35 from Bookatable ) seemed like a good option so we decided to try that, although my pessimistic mind told me to keep the expectations low.
Hutong did not disappoint. Situated just one level above Aqua Shard (33rd floor), it is actually quite nice to leave the hustle and bustle of the bar downstairs and have an oasis of a dining experience upstairs.
We arrived promptly for our 2:30pm lunch booking and after we checked in our coats and accessories, we were escorted to our table. The table was a corner table so we could have a decent conversation without bellowing at each other. At the same time, it was a window table so we had perfect views!
We decided to embark on the four course experience, and every course was delectable.
The starter was a monkfish and enoki mushroom soup which was a delicate fish soup with subtle flavours. I could definitely taste the flavours of the monkfish in the soup.
The second course was a colourful display of steamed dumplings – including wasabi shrimp dumpling, cod and seaweed dumpling with tobiko (flying fish roe), XO Sauce Crystal prawn dumpling and vegetable and bamboo pith dumpling. Each morsel felt like heaven unfolding in our mouths. We decided not to talk for a minute or so in order to quietly sample and enjoy every mouthful!
We were then pleasantly awakened from our dumpling dreams to sample the third course – Guaiwei prawns and cuttlefish in pickled chilli sauce. It was another taste sensation, deliciously spiced with lovely aromas, introducing our taste buds to a myriad of flavours.
The fourth and final course was braised beef shanks in ginger and onion sauce, accompanied with rice and sautéed greens. Since my friend is not a massive meat eater, I was given the task of polishing it off which I was quite happy to do. Again, a very good dish but not as exceptional as the previous three courses. However, a special mention to the rice that accompanied the food. Often relegated as a side not worthy of note, this one was delicious and could almost take centre stage.
The service overall was slightly disappointing. It would have been nicer to be served by a waitress who could smile a little; ours gave the impression that she couldn’t wait for her shift to get over. We did have a pleasant maître d’ though who made things slightly more relaxed for us.
Overall Hutong has been an enjoyable experience. I would probably return if they decided to change the set lunch menu or for dinner to enjoy the night time views. The service can definitely be improved. However their food, while not ground breaking, is tasty and high quality. They have a superb wine menu, even though it is slightly on the expensive side. But the views make the entire dining experience worthwhile. Definitely worth checking out for your next celebration or special day!