Hutong at The Shard

Bars, Chinese, Dim Sum, International, Szechuan·
££££
·
Gold Award
·

SquareMeal Review of Hutong at The Shard

Gold Award

As the London flagship of the Hong Kong-based Aqua Group, this high-rise Chinese atop the Shard is nigh on impossible to beat for its beautiful carved-wood interiors, glamorous vibes and “incredible” views of London’s skyline. Diners also get a good view of the restaurant’s kitchen towards the back of the “massive” space.

At lunchtime, the ‘experience’ set menu lives up to its name, although premium dim sum is a bigger draw – try exquisite items such as the XO scallop and ‘crystal’ prawn dumplings, bean curd rolls strafed with monkfish or pan-fried Wagyu beef buns. We’re also big fans of the Ibérico pork xiao long bao (broth-filled Shanghai dumplings).

However, the kitchen shows its real class in the evening with some inspired regional cooking ranging from crispy oysters with peanut, sesame and dried chilli to braised Chinkiang pork ribs tweaked with sweet vinegar sauce – not forgetting a “really tasty” full-strength version of Peking duck, authentically served in ‘two stages’.

It’s also worth investing in flagged-up signature dishes such as numbing-hot ‘ma la’ crispy eel spiced with dried chilli and cumin or steamed halibut with ‘red star’ rice noodles and vegetables in a fiery broth.

“Top service” is attuned to the needs of out-of-town visitors as well as expense-account City types, while drinks cover all bases – don’t miss the innovative oriental cocktails on offer in Hutong’s low-lit Bar.  Hefty prices are a bugbear for some readers, although most people (including the team at SquareMeal) reckon that Hutong is “worth every penny”. 

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Bars, Chinese, Dim Sum, International, Szechuan
Ambience
Cool, Dark and moody, Fun, Glamorous, Lively, Luxury, Romantic, Unique
Food Occasions
Dinner, Late night dining, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Great views
Special Features
Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Turn right when you exit the ear-popping elevator at The Shard and you’ll be greeted with the most spectacular view in London, a jaw-dropping panorama of the ever-evolving skyline of the Square Mile, with famous landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and Canary Wharf crowding the edge of your field of vision.

From the two dining options on offer – British-themed Aqua Shard and Szechuan-accented Hutong – we’d go Chinese very time, although no one should come here without first having a drink in Aqua Shard’s bar, which is where you'll find the best views.

That said, the views from Hutong aren’t exactly shabby, stretching westwards up the river from St Paul’s to the Millennium Wheel and Houses of Parliament, with Wembley Stadium and the hilltop villages of Hampstead and Highgate visible on the horizon on a fine day.

Minimally decorated surrounds of dark wood latticing and Chinese lanterns puts the emphasis firmly on the view, though we’ve always felt that the cooking would be worthy of attention even if it weren’t on the 33rd floor of London’s most iconic skyscraper.

The cooking is nominally northern Chinese, though in reality you’ll find many of your favourite high-street dishes done to an exceptionally high standard; Aqua is owned by a restaurant group based in Hong Kong, the spiritual home of Cantonese cooking.

Roast duck carved tableside is a speciality of the house, served in a first course of pancakes and then stir fried. Otherwise, expect vegetable spring rolls, sautéed crispy shredded beef and chilli and some terrific seafood dishes such as king crab and chilled tofu or ma la crispy eel.

Dim sum is served at lunchtime, often made from luxury ingredients: Iberico pork or lobster xiao long bao, pan-fried Wagyu beef buns or baked Wagyu beef puffs – as well as more classic pan-fried chicken dumplings or scallop siu mai. Prices match the sky-high location, but so too does the top-drawer service.

This venue also offers

Hutong at The Shard
Private Group Dining

Hutong at The Shard

Aqua Shard
Private Group Dining

Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard
Restaurant

Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard (bar)
Restaurant

Aqua Shard (bar)

Aqua Shard
Christmas Parties

Aqua Shard

Location

Level 33, The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 9RY

020 3011 1257 020 3011 1257

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon 12:00-14:30
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun 12:00-14:30
Dinner
Mon 18:00-22:30
Tue 18:00-22:30
Wed 18:00-22:30
Thu 18:00-22:30
Fri 18:00-22:30
Sat 18:00-22:30
Sun 18:00-22:30
Bar
Mon 12:00-00:00
Tue 12:00-00:00
Wed 12:00-00:00
Thu 12:00-01:00
Fri 12:00-01:00
Sat 12:00-01:00
Sun 12:00-01:00

Reviews

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45 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Caroline C

29 June 2023   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 4
Service 3
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 3

Madhu S

18 February 2023  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 5
Value 3.5
Service could be better, less rushed

The booking was around 45 min to closing time. Felt rushed. 

The Chicken dish, was loaded with red chillies.

The view was the best, Wish I could say the same about the service though 

Shireen P

20 December 2022  
Food & Drink 1.5
Service 0.5
Atmosphere 2.5
Value 0.5
Ethnic Food Consultant.

5 of us and our bills is under £600. Servcie charge added on the bill (over £70) with a terrible service we received. Most staffs are walking around or chatting near the door. 

This is the only restaurant we experienced having soup with cheap metal spoon! I was absolutely godsmack! Who ever choose Hutong cutteries, it need to do a much better job. No chopstick rester on table! Serving bowl was chip. 

The foods was okay. Hugely dissapointed was the Peking duck! 

At least the chocolate pudding was good to left up our dissapointment meal.

Anon

23 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

The food was absolutely delicious! The flavours and textures were amazing, there's plenty of dishes for all tastes including the veggies!

The service and the view isn't bad either! 

Harriet F

23 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Amazing food, best duck pancakes I've ever had

HECTOR V

20 July 2022   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
The View Experience

Very good food.

Very expensive.

Very good service

.

 

Alex G

10 March 2020  
Food & Drink 3
Service 3
Atmosphere 4
Value 3
Room with a view

There is no debate that the Shard has redefined the London skyline. However, much more uncertain in the opinion of this reviewer is whether the restaurants within the Shard have had any impact on the London dining scene. Begin at the beginning. What’s the attraction of the Shard? Well, it’s the view. Provide somewhere to eat and drink and the people will come; they’re paying less for what they’re about to consume and more for the experience. Against this background, it’s probably appropriate to go to the Shard with expectations set appropriately. My dining partner and I wondered almost from the moment of our arrival at the building’s basement just how special or intimate our experience might be given that we were herded towards a dedicated elevator for the restaurant complex. The choice of words is not accidental. One specific entrance for dining might sound exclusive, but it’s more an exercise in crowd control. Similarly, complex is apposite given that up on level 31 (once through security), diners are confronted not only with thudding beats and myriad groups of Instagram-happy snappers, but also a potentially bewildering choice; there’s Aqua Shard, Hutong and Oblix from which to choose. We had booked for the middle one of this trio and made our way – eventually – to the venue. Throughout our time in both the bar for pre-dinner drinks and once at the table, the service was professional but lacked warmth or even a hint of personalisation. Maybe experience-seekers don’t care so much, but we found it profoundly depressing; you’re just on a conveyer belt. Even better if the table is turned quickly. Many other reviewers seem to laud the décor of Hutong and maybe it’s impressive by day, but at night, with the lighting turned as low as it was, it was hard to make things out. Seating, my comrade correctly noted, was far from comfortable and the high-topped stools in the bar hardly designed with females sporting short skirts in mind. Onto the food and no surprise, the angle here is style over substance. Both my comrade and I found our dishes competently executed, but far from ground-breaking. More broadly, it would be hard to say that either culinary passion or originality featured in any major way. The dumplings did not wow, vegetarian options are distinctly positioned as an after-thought and probably only the ‘red lantern’ soft-shell crab was stand-out. No surprise, the experience doesn’t come cheap. Cocktails, food, wine (chosen from an admittedly decent list) can result in a £150/head without even really trying. Push the boat out and the bill could increase by multiples. Visiting Hutong at the Shard – to give it its full name – is an experience for sure, just not one necessarily worth repeating. At least the views were definitively good.

Grace

17 February 2020  
Food & Drink 5
Service 4
Atmosphere 5
Value 3.5
Amazing restaurant

This restaurant has the best atmosphere in such a stunning view. 
Food was absolutely fantastic; I can easily confirm this as I lived in China and the food at Hutong brought me back to amazing memories. 

Christina G

26 July 2019  
Breath taking views along with delicious Northern China cuisine. The prawns were to die for. Recommended by Square Meal.

Tina S

28 June 2019  
Food is beautiful, love the small details in regards to the decor and if you are able to sit in front of one of the floor to ceiling windows the sunsets can be stunning.
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