The Shard... people love it, or hate it. Personally, I love it as I can see it from my beloved Abbeville Road sticking out amongst London rooftops. A pinnacle, reminding me just how fast London is moving. Not only have we now won the top spot for Europe's highest building, it's one of my favourite spots to view our beautiful city whilst sipping on rather fabulous cocktails and nattering until the sun sets...
This particular balmy summers evening was no exception. Having been to Aqua and had an evening of mixed thoughts, I was desperate to try Hutong (which has a 1 starred sister restaurant in Hong Kong and comes highly praised). Who couldn't love a supper with a view like this...
We had booked in the hope of exchanging or even completing on our (now third time lucky!) flat, however with this no longer looking any time soon we decided to keep the table and eat away our angry thoughts... anyone having a nightmare with house buying I feel for you, I really, REALLY do!!
Anyway... we had an early sitting at 6pm, seated right by the edge of the restaurant. Thus meaning, we were able to watch the sun slowly start to set and also spy of commuters hurrying home. From up here it makes the whole of London look like a Hornby railway set... and it's rather gorgeous.
Reading up on several reviews there were a few dishes I knew we had to try, and other dishes we just wanted to order as they sounded delicious.
One thing I MUST point out, it is eye-wateringly expensive! Dishes are, on average, around the £22-28 mark...but, it's fully booked almost every evening, months in advance. So, they must be doing something right.
We settled down to a glass of wine and perused the menu. Starters were a pretty easy deal for us as we both wanted the try the 'Roasted Peking duck' which was served in two stages (£30 for 2 ppl). This came with its own carver and was pretty amazing to watch as he carved paper thin slices of pink meat and (the best ever) crisp skin onto a serving platter...
This we then piled into wafer thin steamed pancakes, plum sauce, spring onion and cucumber. Altogether making this one of the most decadent crispy duck pancakes Mr D and I have ever had...the second serving of the duck comes with our mains.
Our other starter was Shandong steamed chicken breast with home made buns. The chicken was perfectly cooked and covered in a light sweet sauce...the buns were incredibly light and fluffy. A real delight to eat.
Onto our mains...
Reasonably priced vegetable noodles arrived first and had a fantastic springy consistency to them (possibly hand pulled). Loads of yummy bean sprouts (massive thumbs up here!) and sweet onions ran through the dish and this was polished off even when full to bursting at the end.
Mr D chose the Chinkiang pork ribs which were braised in a sweet and vinegar sauce. This actually was one of the cheaper options on the menu, but one that we both wanted to try. Mainly for Mr D's love of ribs. The pork was succulent and so tender it fell off the bone. The sauce incredibly sticky and more-ish I was pouring it over the meat by the gallon.
Spiced minced pork with string beans followed and my god these are good. So good that I went on and on eating these and asked the waiter how they were cooked (deep fried for seconds and then dry fried)... the beans were so crunchy, fresh and delicious. This dish actually was one of the highlights of the meal which is rare for a 'side dish'. Served with garlic (lots of), dried shrimp, chilli and minced pork. If you go, you MUST have this.
Our second helping of the duck from the starter arrived tossed with onions, chillies and garlic(I think!) served along side lettuce leaves and was another winner on the table. It was really refreshing and a welcome crunchy texture against the softer/richer parts of our supper we were having.
Our final dish for mains, although stuffed, was also scoffed, it was the Wunan-style cod fillet tossed with chilli and crisp soya beans. I absolutely loved it. The fish was amazing. Perfectly steamed to create such tender flesh I didn't need a knife to serve it. The whole dish had a pleasant kick to it. The soya beans were plentiful and gave a great texture against the softer fish main element.
Feeling rather stuffed and our mouths in need of an injection of freshness we had some guava fruit sorbet. Really refreshing and a greatly satisfying end to a very decadent feasting.
So, after a couple of glasses of wine (no bottle) our bill came to £172! Which is pretty expensive... we had also chosen some of the cheaper dishes on the menu without thinking about it so, it could have been even more. Was it worth it? Some elements of the menu are totally worth it. The staff are impeccable, it's another one also to make a trip to the loo for you gents... However I think it's best to go with a work credit card or colleague to be sure that you won't be footing the bill!
Address: Level 33 The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RYPhone:020 3011 1257