Hutong, Hong Kong – it’s all about the view
WC Fields famously said never work with children or animals. He probably had a pithy saying about restaurants with a view too – something along the lines of why worry about the food when they don’t have to?
And so we arrived at Hutong on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong harbour. Heading up to the 28th floor of the impressive ‘One Peking’ building, the decor is almost as startling as one of the most famous views in the world, looking like it was delivered by Shanghai Tang. Distressed, carved timber screens, bentwood chairs (which were exceedingly uncomfortable, but more on that later), red paper lanterns, your own mini rickshaw as the table centrepiece.
Having gorged at Amber the night before, we weren’t in the frame of mind, or stomach, to try another tasting menu. Fuelled by a very strong gin and tonic, we perused a comprehensive a la carte selection, buoyed with the knowledge that the restaurant has held a Michelin star (Greedy Girl is not sure if this is current) and also attracted a rave review from the American Express insider team in 2011 which pronounced it ‘one of the best five Chinese restaurants in the world’.
Greedy Girl would like to know what factors these reviews were based upon. At the outset it should be said that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Hutong. The food was perfectly edible. But was there a wow factor that didn’t involve looking out the windows? Sadly, no.
We ordered five dishes – three of which were indicated on the menu as being house specialties. We were all set to order a sixth – a soft-shell crab and chilli concoction but the wait staff alerted us that the dish was very spicy. Shortly to depart Hong Kong on a 13 hour flight to Paris, we demurred.
We then moved on to a ‘regular’ sized dish of Hutong’s take on Peking duck – complete with pancakes, cucumber, spring onions and two sauces – a traditional hoisin and a delicious spring onion and light soy sauce. The latter was particularly good. Greedy Girl loves her duck. This started off as a very pleasant dish although the duck had been deep fried and had started to take on a bit of a ‘fast food’ vibe. After a couple of pancakes, the heaviness of the fried duck was beginning to take its toll. Gluttonous husband finished the serving but commented he did not do so with any particular relish. It was a little reminiscent of eating a bucket of KFC – eventually the fried flavour just dominated. Greedy Girl doesn’t mean to be harsh but there you go …
Hutong offers some good food and a wonderful aspect but worthy of Michelin or the other hype? Not from what Greedy Girl saw. It’s expensive Chinese food – obviously there’s a lot of stuff you’re paying for aside from what’s on the plate. Visitors to Hong Kong (and there were plenty among our fellow diners this particular evening) will enjoy their rarefied piece of prime real estate – and all told, it’s arguably a ‘cheap rental’ but call it what it is – a nice meal with a great view and forget about the foodie pretensions.
28/F, 1 Peking Road Shopping Arcade, 1 Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong