Deputy editor Miranda McMinn tries a North Chinese dim sum lunchtime menu
Listen up people. If you’re going to lunch at Hutong don’t have breakfast first. There’s going to be a lot to get through, guys.
The award winning northern Chinese restaurant sits on Level 33 of The Shard, in the heart of the City. You whizz up in the lifts and emerge into the restaurant, buzzing with business types (smart and elegant dress is a must, a sign warns downstairs) looking like they’re enjoying Friday lunchtime as they know best.
Our table is right by the to-the-floor window so we have the best view in London – across the river to the Walkie Talkie, the Gherkin and all the other frankly odd-shaped buildings that have shot up in recent years.
But we’re not here to talk about architecture. We’re here to talk Dim Sum – specifically the new lunchtime dim sum menu that has been created by Hutong’s dim sum Chef, Qui Xin, and Head Chef Bing Luo.
Our charming waiter suggested that we take one of each. As each comes with three largish pieces of dim sum this seemed a little excessive, though we didn’t do too badly. Pretty soon the dim sum was arriving at the table by the lorry load in classic baskets and pretty leaf themed plates.
The XO sauce crystal prawn dumpling – all glistening and yellow – was delicate and amazing. The Rose Champagne shrimp dumplings were pretty and pink and divine to sink into. The cod and seaweed dumplings with tobiko came with a little roe on top and were a fresh addition to the mix. Crispy Peking duck rolls were a dim sum take on the classic; crispy prawn and mixed seafood rolls were wedges of taste; king crab and courgette dumplings were seafood infused beauties.
Finally, donut shaped Wagyu beef buns were that combination of slightly sweet and very savoury, with a hint of wonderful stodge – they’re made with fermented bread that is first steamed then pan-fried – that characterizes the kind of dim sum you might pick up as a cheeky bonus on a walk through Chinatown.
As well as the restaurant there is a beautiful bar area – designed as a modern take on Chinese lacquer screens – where you can take dim sum as a bar menu between the hours of noon and 5pm – it looked like the perfect spot for a clandestine afternoon liaison.
Dim sum apparently means “touch of the heart” and every piece certainly seemed made with love. It was a perfect way to spend a Friday lunchtime and we returned to our respective offices full of warm feelings. And dumplings.