It was the first day of university, my parents had dropped me off and it was all a blur of independence mixed with strugging to hold onto my mum’s apron! It was emotional, I walked into the student union met a girl called S and the rest, as they say, is history. The most unexpected friendhsip, and what a beautiful friendship it has been! 12 years later and we have a tradition of spending every birthday together. Last year was our romantic break to Venice! This year we decided to stay local and so, I booked a restaurant and told her to turn up.
We decided to go to Hutong, I had heard so much about it and neither of us had been, so that’s what we did! Even though Hutong does not serve halal meat, it is Chinese cuisine so there was bound to be things to accomodate us. (Actually, never presume, I checked the menu and there was!)
As always I was very early so I decided to go to the table anyways. And as always, S was late… Very late! After some very tight security, I travelled up the fast elevators and within seconds I was on the 33rd floor of the iconic building. I was shown to a beautiful table.
The decor very authentically Chinese but very modern at the same time…
And the views even on this gloomy day….
I started ordering before my friend got there, and gave me the chance to take a few snaps..
I started by ordering some starters – Vegetable Spring Rolls
Beautifully presented, and they were different for sure. Vegetable spring rolls by their very nature are a simple starter, but this starter had so much taste and individuality. The half open spring rolls meant the dressing seeped right through it making it a great starter.
S finally arrived an hour late for her own birthday lunch, stating that she couldn’t find the building (Oh dear!) and that after 12 years of never being on time, I should have known she was going to be late – touche my friend! (Ha!) At this point, I was thankful to see her as our waitress was certain I was stood up! We only had half an hour to order as the kitchen closed at 3pm. We ordered a few more starters to share
Usually I am not a major fan of wasabi, alot of restaurants get to excited with it and forget that some people have sensitive taste buds. But this dish was perfect. The prawns were well cooked, yet soft and so creamy. The wasabi was subtle yet strong enough to feel the kick, but not enough of a kick to give me tears (yes that’s happened more than once!) It was delicious and one of my favourite dishes of what we ate.
We decided to share some dim sum so went for the Dim Sum Platter
The Dim Sum Platter had 4 different different types of dim sum, but as one of them contained alcohol I asked to double up on the XO Crystal Prawn dumpling. The platter was great, it was just enoough for us both, all the different dim sums were yum. Although my favourite was the Cod and Seaweed dumpling.
We were getting a little stuffed at this point but as always, persevere! So we got our mains..
This dish probably wasn’t what either of us was expecting. The cod was cooked so well, it pretty much just dissolved in your mouth. But there was no taste whatsoever. It was a bland dish and the soya beans took away any little taste it did have, so all you could taste were the chillies and a bad aftertaste of the soya beans. Not impressed at all, especially for a dish that cost almost £30!
S did slightly better with her main..
Definitely the better of the 2 mains (although there wasn’t much competition), this dish was nice. The fried prawns were covered in a crispy coat which was delicious, although the chillies and strong salty taste was a little overpowering. And don’t be fooled, those chillies aren’t there to add to the colour of the dish, those little badboys werent messing around!
We were offered the dessert menu and nothing really appealed to me, but as it was S’s birthday I had to pick something… anything so I could embarass her as per tradition! I will never seem to understand why Chinese/Japanese restaurants never have any decent desserts on their menu.
It didn’t look physiscally that appealining to be honest. The presentation seemed rushed and not worthy of £8.50. The tart was nice, the dark chocolate a little overpowering, but the biscuit base was beautiful, the texture amazing, I love a good biscuit.
Overall, I felt as though Hutong at The Shard was a very average meal to say the least. The bill came to a total of around £140 for 2 people, and even though for a special ocassion that wasn’t a horrid amount, but given that the quality of the food was not as we expected. The mocktails were great and so were the views but that was probably it… it wasn’t cool that the waiters were rather unattentive and would only come over to tell us when the kitchen was closing. Although if you love a good view the bathroom is definitely a winner…
Food – 4 out of 10
Service – 4 out of 10
Price -5 out of 10
Atmosphere – 7 out of 10
Experience – 6 out of 10
Overall, giving Hutong at The Shard a total TLH score of 5 out of 10.
Address: The Shard, Level 33, 31 St. Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY
Halal Status: Not halal but plenty of seafood options, please check with your waiter for alcohol in certain dishes
Closest Station: London Bridge (Jubilee or Northern Line)
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