New Sichuan brunch: Hutong, TST, Hong Kong
Decadent champagne brunch with a killer view in TST
While I hadn’t visited Hutong in TST before, it was on my radar. A friend had gone for a champagne birthday brunch and raved about it. I could understand why after arriving at their 28th floor location at 1 Peking Road. Firstly, the view is stunning. Just like its London location, the large space makes the most of its prime location with large floor to ceiling windows. Secondly, the interior design is very old Beijing. Everything from the traditional-looking wooden chairs, to tabletop red lanterns, to the decorative clay vases fit the theme tastefully. It’s a funky, unique place to enjoy a long leisurely brunch.
Hutong’s new Feng Wei brunch ($428) might require you to clear your afternoon because there are 18 courses. The menu is neatly divided into appetizers (four dishes), dim sum (five dishes), hot dishes (five dishes), and dessert (four dishes).
This first section of the menu was light and fresh. We enjoyed the sliced squid with wasabi and cucumber salad in garlic-pepper sauce though neither blew us away. The chicken with glass noodles marinated in Sichuan chili sauce was the most fragrant from this section; very delicious without being too numbingly spicy. Our hopes were highest for the seared foie gras with Osmanthus-smoked coddled egg, but were disappointed when the dish was served cold. We felt this muted the flavours on what could have been an impressive starter.
Here the ingredients started to get fancy. The poached lobster wontons and pan-fried chicken dumplings were stuffed with high quality ingredients, which needed little seasoning to shine. We were also impressed by how thin the dough was for both. Though we have lots of love for the classic pork siu mai, this crab version was very delicious and had generous amounts of crabmeat. We loved the mushroom bao not for its pretty looks but for the texture of the bread. These were some of the lightest, fluffiest bao we’d ever had. Our last dish for this section was the shrimp, kimchi and mozzarella spring rolls.
This is where we started to fall in love with the food at Hutong. We couldn’t stop eating the Kung Po fried cod fillets even though it was the first of the mains out, and we had four more to go. Though each fillet was covered in sauce, the batter remained perfectly crisp. The sauce itself was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, without being cloyingly sweet. The stir-fried chicken with shallots and black bean sauce was nice and savoury, a classic comforting dish. We thought the 12 hour braised beef rib beef could have been more tender, but the flavour was great and infused with the fragrance of lotus leaves.
At this point we were 150 per cent full, but couldn’t not try the soft shell crabs with Sichuan dried chili. We were glad we did because this dish was fantastic. The fried crabs were very meaty, and the batter was very spicy having taken on the aroma from the basket of chilis. Our last dish was a small plate of fragrant seasonal vegetables (pea shoots on our day) deliciously stir-fried with garlic.
The dessert selection consisted of two types of crispy glutinous rice balls, homemade ice cream, and steamed baos filled with egg yolk custard (not salted egg yolk). Of these, our favourite was the rice balls filled with milk chocolate.
For an extra $200, there is the option to add on bottomless Veuve Clicquot champagne and tea infused cocktails. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin 2008 can also be had for $280 per person, or Ruinart Rose NV for $320 per person.
At $428, Hutong’s new Feng Wei brunch is value for money. There’s more food than one could possibly want to eat, the view is spectacular, and the service is on point. With a number of private rooms, it’s also a rare restaurant that is just as suitable for celebrating a raucous birthday party for a 30th birthday or a 3rd birthday; I think Hutong was happily hosting both the day we went.
28/F, 1 Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3428 8342
This post will also appear on afoodieworld.com :)