Tried & Tested

Restaurant check: Hutong

30 Sep 2013 by Clement Huang

BACKGROUND After almost a decade, this slick Northern Chinese restaurant with a view is still as popular as ever, with a diverse crowd of locals, expats and out-of-towners packing the dining hall nightly. 

THE RESTAURANT As one would gather from the name, the décor is inspired by the alleyways and courtyard houses of old Beijing. Upon arrival you’d feel like you have been transported to the world of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Match that with the commanding view of Hong Kong’s famous harbour view and sparkling skylines and you have a one-of-a-kind dramatic ambiance. There is a semi-private area on one end partitioned off by a stone doorway, and a more exclusive area on the other side of the lift lobby with its own full-length window with a city view.

THE FOOD The menu features a mix of Pekinese, Shanghainese and Sichuan cuisines. All the food is presented on stylish crockery, including plates with carved doorframe patterns, while sweet pastries are served in circular wooden boxes. It seems, though, that the spices have been toned down in some of the dishes to accommodate the palates of the diverse clientele, especially the “Pingyao style” stewed beef with rice cracker fried in aged dark vinegar and chili (HK$288/US$37) and bamboo clams steeped in Chinese rose wine and chili sauce (HK$178/US$23), both of which we expected to be much spicier. But we loved the green asparagus coated with white sesame served cold with a touch of sweet soy sauce (HK$128/US$17), which was a surprisingly harmonious combination, and the Mandarin fish fillet tossed with crispy fermented bean and chili – a triumph in both taste and texture. Osmanthus jelly, pumpkin pudding, and mango rolls with glutinous rice skin delivered a flavoursome finale. 

ENTERTAINMENT Earlier this year, the restaurant introduced a noodle-making show with kung fu movie music as a backdrop, which lends a fun vibe to the unique dining experience. 

VERDICT The food was reasonable, but the highlights were the view, the décor and the very attentive service. 

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