High in the sky at Hutong
A particularly special occasion was called for this Sunday and I could think of no place better to encapsulate Chinese cuisine whilst offering a spectacular view of Hong Kong than a Hutong brunch. Whilst the intention is to take the Aqua Luna to this hot destination, we opted for the more purse friendly option, Hong Kong’s cheap as chips star ferry.
Situated on the 28th floor, you are guaranteed some stunning views of the harbour. We had managed to get seating by the window and while there are plenty of tables to enjoy the view, Hutong also offers more private booths for bigger groups. The décor brought both of us back to our days of living in China with a huge wishing tree in the entrance, baskets drying jujube and chillis, dark wooden furniture and even a bicycle greeting you in the entrance all of which truly transports you to a Hutong in Beijing. Before our food arrived, we were treated to Hutong’s traditional mask flipping performance. I am not usually a fan of dinner theatre, however we were all encapsulated by this dance.
Hutong’s brunch is from 12pm to 3pm and as they offer free flow with 200 HKD add on, you can be sure that once we entered at 1pm, diners were visibly ‘elated’. The brunch is a set of a whopping 18 dishes divided into appetizers, dim sum, Northern Chinese mains and dessert. For those of you who are going teetotal, you can opt for the soft drink free flow for 100 HKD add on.
The cucumber and garlic salad with the sliced wasabi squid came first. Cucumber is usually served at the beginning of the meal to give you a bigger appetite. This one was definitely not your run of the mill garlic cucumber dish, the pepper sauce gave it a big kick. The wasabi squid is also not for the faint hearted, I was so impressed how well this was cooked with no rubbery texture whatsoever, just succulent pieces of seafood.
Continuing with the spicy theme, the next dish was the shredded chicken and glass noodles. This is one of my favourite dishes in dim sum restaurants and Hutong got it spot on especially with a generous amount of Sichuan sauce and the extremely tender chicken. Loved the 嘛 spice!
To give us some respite from the heat, the osmanthus smoked egg topped with foie gras came next. I was expecting a stronger smoky taste from the egg, however what impressed me was the very runny and gooey yoke- perfection! The foie gras itself was slightly tasteless however this may have been my taste buds being numbed from all the 嘛. In which case, I would recommend Hutong brings this dish out before the other appetizers.
It is not a Sunday in Hong Kong without dim sum, thankfully this is included in the 18 dishes served for Hutong’s brunch! The stand out dim sum dishes were the mushroom baos, the chicken and ginger pan fried dumplings and the shrimp, kimchi and cheese spring rolls. The mushroom baos had a pungent mushroom flavour, were not overcooked and the bun to filling ratio was perfect. The chicken and ginger pan fried dumplings were satisfying and the ginger did not overpower the chicken. Unfortunately, we couldn’t taste much of the kimchi in the spring rolls but I do love cheese so this was a winner!
We were somewhat underwhelmed by the Boston lobster wonton and the siu mai with scallops. Although generous with the lobster, we both found ourselves adding chilli oil to the dumplings. The scallops on the siu mai were sadly dry, we would have preferred the fresh variety for a better texture.
The Kung Po cod fillet, braised chicken breast with black bean sauce and seasonal vegetables with garlic were all great dishes and really satisfied us. The main event of the main dishes however was the Red lantern soft shell crab with Sichuan chilli. Amazingly crispy on the outside, yet succulent on the inside with enough heat to keep it interesting. For bigger groups, this dish is served in a bamboo basket for that WOW factor.
The braised beef dish underwhelmed my friend who commented that although tender after being braised for 12 hours, it unfortunately lacked flavour.
Unable to move at this point and already contemplating a guilt ridden trip to the gym, we reluctantly accepted the dessert plates. 2 custard buns embossed with gold, glutinous rice balls with matcha and chocolate filling and the very refreshing lychee sorbet. I am a huge fan of custard buns and Hutong’s version were particularly runny, just how I like them. The chocolate filled rice balls were also amazingly tasty and the lychee sorbet felt like the perfect ending. Wish we had this in the middle of the meal to separate the spicy appetizers from the dim sum course.
Verdict: The authenticity of the food here really surprised us, (although there was wasabi added to one dish) the dishes were packed with those familiar flavours we had experienced living in China. Hutong brunch is definitely something I would recommend to anyone visiting or for a special occasion as this perfectly captures Chinese flavours and Hong Kong’s spectacular skyline. Also given the sheer amount of food, I do think this brunch is worth the price tag.
28/F, One Peking Road,Tsim ShaTsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Ph: 852 3428 8342