Tim Foolery

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Hutong (Dinner)

After our mediocre dinner at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon on Friday night, I didn’t have really high expectations for our Saturday night dinner at Hutong.  Hutong came highly recommended by 2 friends – they both loved the view and said the food was great.  Hutong is located on the 28th Floor of One Peking Road.  This 30 story sky-scraper is located in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Kowloon on the corner of Peking Road and Canton Road, adjacent to the Peking Road Metro Station (among other Stations as well).

I’ve said before, how I enjoy going to high places (buildings, hills, etc) to get a better view of the surrounding area, but I’ve never really found the food at these locations to really be worth it.  If a restaurant has a great view, more often than not, you’ll hear people talk about the view and not the food.  In any event, it came highly recommended so we gave it a try.

The Lunar Gate. Photo courtesy of Hutong.com.hk

 

Dining Room overlooking the Hong Kong Skyline. Photo courtesy of Hutong.com.hk

We had reservations for 20h00 and we arrived about about 15 minutes early.  We were told to wait off in the corner until our table was ready.  About 5 minutes into our wait we were offered a wine list, but the server never returned to take our order.  At exactly 20h00 we were shown to our seats.  I chose this reservation time because the Symphony of Lights begins promptly at 20h00 and this restaurant is designed to highlight this spectacular light show.  The Symphony of Lights is a daily phenomenon in Hong Kong, organized by the Tourism Board to showcase the beauty of the Hong Kong Architecture and natural surroundings.  This light show is timed to accompanying music that was piped into the restaurant as well as various viewpoints around the harbor.  It was a bit cloudy when we were there, so my photos are pretty much crap – but if you Google the “Symphony of Lights – Hong Kong”, you’ll see what I’m talking about.  The show lasts for 14 minutes.  The show started as we were being seated at our table and the servers kept away for the entire light show.  It was nice that they weren’t in our way or disrupting other patrons pictures, although, I would have enjoyed a drink during the show.

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera to dinner this evening, so all my pictures are just awful – my phone didn’t do the venue justice.  All the photos I’m including herein are the official photos from the Hutong website.  To watch the light show we were seated on the same side of the table.  When we sat down, I didn’t even realize that both place settings were on the same side, I instinctively sat across from my friend and everyone around me had a good laugh.

We decided to order family style and started with the abalone carpaccio.  This was my first time eating abalone – I honestly didn’t realize it was a sea snail – when I read abalone on the menu, I thought “abacore” – a tuna species.  The abalone was very good – served very clean, just with a bit of green onion oil.

We then had the thick cut pork belly which was served with cucumber and a garlic sauce.  I thought this pork belly was great – sometimes I find pork belly just to be a big wad of fried pork fat, with very little meat and little enhancements to the flavor.  This was a nice mix of fat and meat and a great flavor.

Next up, we had the Kung Po Style Chili Prawns.  Of this dish, all I remember is the cashews that came with it.  Not a winning endorsement, I know.  For our main, we had the crispy duck, which was sliced and served with another green onion sauce and Chinese pancakes.  The duck was my favorite item on the menu.

We had a nice Bordeaux wine with this dinner – I couldn’t stray from the French theme we’d been sticking with so far on this trip.

When we were finishing up our meal, there was another show – this time inside the restaurant.  The chef entered the dining room and provided a demonstration on how to make Chinese noodles.  The music turned up and he began flinging the dough around, rolling it, stretching it and within 5-7 minutes he went from one large ball of dough to dozens of feet of thin noodles.  It was great to watch, except that everyone was pushing trying to get the best picture of the spectacle.  I was interested in watching – and enjoying my wine, not taking the best action shot in history.

My expectations were low.  The service was a bit shoddy.  The food was very good and the two shows (light show and noodle show) were both quite enjoyable.  I would recommend that first time visitors head on up to Hutong for the shows and a meal.  It is definitely designed for tourists, but the food wasn’t of standard tourist quality.  While I don’t think I’d go back on my own for a meal here, if I were traveling with a Hong Kong virgin, I would return to show them the spectacle.


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