First look: Hutong at Z Centre
We do not lack for glamorous restaurants in this city. For a while, it seemed that a lot of the new high end places were bathed in sleek neutrals perhaps with a pop of colour or golden accent. Hutong is the latest glamorous restaurant to (re)open and is an OTT — but elegant — new addition, with a vibe unlike any other.
After spending nearly two decades at One Peking, Hutong is now located on the penthouse floor of the new H Zentre building — near The Peninsula and Sheraton. As soon as guests step out from the lift, they’re greeted with handcrafted wood panels and doors, glowing red silk lanterns, and a traditional wishing tree. There are also a series of private dining rooms with moveable wooden panels to adjust the size of the room; an apothecary bar with traditional Chinese medicine drawers, an outdoor Moon Terrace which guests enter through a traditional moon gate to take in the panoramic view from 18 stories high, and a stunning main dining room (better organized and cozier than the previous location) with a long wall of traditional Yunnan tea bricks.
*Press photos of the restaurant
Visit and you could easily spend half an hour taking in the various tiny details that make up the beautiful new space.
But you’re probably there to drink and eat!
We started off with the Comfortably Numb cocktail, made with vanilla vodka, lychee liqueur, Sichuan pepper honey, and ruby red grapefruit. Fresh yet deliciously soft and creamy. A nice way to ease into the evening.
Onto the food, we sampled tasting portions of various dishes.
In the Dim Sum Platter ($218 for 8 pieces, 4 shown here) there is a ma la Sichuan dumpling, pickled pepper har gau, seasonal vegetable and peach gum dumpling, and steamed cod with black olive dumpling. These were beautifully prepared and inventive — highly recommend ordering this. Be sure to eat the har gau last as, even for spice lovers, it packs quite the punch!
The charcoal yu xiang crispy pork dumplings ($88 for 4 pieces) were light and airy.
I think we all stopped talking when the seared scallop Pi Xian spicy soba noodles with sesame peppercorn sauce ($238) arrived. It’s the kind of thing you’d want all for yourself if you weren’t having multiple courses. It’s soft with crunchy bits, packed with garlic and sesame, lightly numbing and well-balanced.
The Flaming Peking Duck ($438 for half, $868 for whole) comes out on a cart and the chef puts on quite the show! It didn’t seem to do much for the flavour but is fun for impressing guests. It’s served traditionally with cucumber, scallions, duck sauce and Chinese pancakes, with some palate-cleansing hawthorne pickled radishes on the side. Given the show and the new vibe of the restaurant, I would have loved to see more inventiveness with the flavours or at least the option to order it traditional-style or not.
We also tried the mandarin fish in salted egg yolk broth with sizzling red and green pepper oil ($538), the ma la chili prawns ($368), the spiced minced pork with string beans and fennel seeds ($198), and the much-loved Red Lantern crispy soft-shell crab with Sichuan dried chilli ($468). These were all elevated classics presented beautifully, comfort food in a glamorous setting.
For dessert we tried the tofu panna cotta ($58) which was delectably creamy in texture and taste.
There’s no other restaurant in town quite like Hutong. The new location is very beautiful and would be a great place for a celebratory drink or meal this season (book quickly — I tried a few dates and they were booked up already!) and beyond. I’m keen to go back and try their new version of the Feng Wei brunch ($788+) as well as more of their inventive dimsum such as the beef brisket xiao long bao and the pan-fried mapo tofu bao.
18F HZentre, 15 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3428 8342