One of the things I really really love about maternity leave is the fact that Mummy lunching is very much a thing and you can usually squeeze one of these in at least a few times a week.
Now it is also true that as the sprog has gotten older, the Mummy lunches have been to places that don’t mind an army of stuff and a baby who much prefers looking around and having lots of chat (To the untrained ear, this may sound like screeching) compared to his newborn days where there’s nothing he enjoyed more than a good sleep, thus allowing for some excellent lunching.
But back in December, after a few tipples saying goodbye to Vinopolis, the sprog was asleep and since the lunching hour was almost over, we thought we’d attempt a last minute jaunt to Hutong at the Shard and enjoy a nice lunch.
It was busier than we thought at 2:30 but most people were almost finished so we asked if they could squeeze us in, which they could, but warned we’d have to order quickly or the kitchen would shut. I’m nothing if not an obliging order-er, so we took our table, right in the centre of the room and hastily menu scanned. We were toying with what to order when we saw the option for the set lunch and liking everything we saw on it, decided to go for that!
So finally, we could check out the view, undoubtedly one of the best reasons to dine anywhere in the Shard.
The kitchen was clearly in super efficient mode, because only a short while later, our starters emerged. First of all, a selection of dumplings – Prawn, Chilean sea bass, Scallop and Vegetable and each of these was hot and delicious. We did have to ask for chilli sauce/ chilli oil and soya sauce accompaniments and they weren’t quite as good or as refined as the ones in HKK, but still pretty yummy!
The soup on the other hand tasted like nothing. A hefty dose of chilli oil later and it tasted like warm chilli broth, which would be no bad thing had this been something I’d concocted, but not for somewhere meant to be as luxurious as Hutong!
Unfortunately for us, things never really did get better. It’s not that things were bad, it’s just that they were lacklustre and extremely forgettable. It’s the culinary equivalent of answering ‘Fine thanks’ when someone you barely know asks how you are. You don’t mean that you’re fine, it’s just common courtesy and it’s something you don’t even think about.
Now that’s all well and good if this is something you ordered from your local takeaway for a tenner but somewhere quite as premium as Hutong should really be doing a bit better.
For the sake of completeness, I’ll tell you what we had. Garlicky greens, prawn and squid in a chilli sort of stir fry, chicken with a LOT of spring onion intended to be eaten in lettuce cups and egg fried rice.
It’s quite telling I think that the one thing I remember about this meal is that I really liked the Egg fried rice. I mean really, even me with my poor culinary form can make fried rice.
Service was also uninspiring, we had to ask repeatedly for condiments which should have hinted to them that the meal required a lot of additions but they didn’t particularly seem to care, they gave an impression of just trying to finish out the lunch service and get out of there.
Needless to say, we left full in stomach but not very satisfied! I’ve had better experiences at Pizza Express and it’s probably safer to return there.
Have you been to Hutong? What did you think?