I was lucky enough to be taken out for lunch at Hutong by my parents the weekend before last, to celebrate my graduation in truly Chinese style. That is, by completely gorging ourselves. We Asians like our feasts.
Hutong is like a slice of glamorous, sparkling Shanghai, set in the centre of ancient London, towering over the Thames in the skyscraping Shard. At 33 floors up, it's definitely the highest altitude meal I've ever had. Probably not the best date spot for those prone to vertigo!
We kicked things off with a round of cocktails to toast my recent departure from university (although, truth be told, it already feels like half a year ago!) I was very pleased with my Beijing Fizz, made up of champagne, elderflower cordial, vodka, and a deep note of plum bitters to give things a Far East twist.
Al had a Bloody Mary of sorts with the cutest little clothespeg on the side of the glass.
As usual, my mother was in charge of ordering, and she ordered generously, but also carefully - in Jay Rayner's review of Hutong he describes the prices as 'ludicrous, a poke in the eye from a chopstick dipped in salty Korean chilli sauce.' So go easy on the ordering if you ever pay Hutong a visit!
Next was a ceviche-like squid dish.
A beautifully presented block of crispy de-boned lamb ribs.
Green beans, tofu and succulent king prawns on the side.
A chef brought over a whole roasted duck and carved it into glistening jewel-like pieces in front of our eyes, to be wrapped up in pancakes with thinly sliced cucumber, spring onions and sticky hoi sin sauce. This one was mindblowingly good. Not to be missed!
Roast duck was my all-time favourite as a child, so I'm slavering right now looking at these photos...Genuine food porn.
We all gasped appreciatively when the waitress laid a lantern-shaped basket on our table, stuffed with salty morsels of soft shell crab peeping out from a bed of dried Sichuan chillies.
Our last dish was one absolutely key to any Chinese feast. Noodles. An Asian staple and also of symbolic value, as their length connotes longevity and suggests future success and prosperity.