I booked in at the last minute for this Chinatown restaurant, and was able to get a seat on the proviso we were out by 7pm! Normally this would have been an issue, but seeing as we were only after a quick dinner before seeing a movie at 6:40, it suited perfectly! I had heard that this place could be hard to get a seat in, and this seemed to confirm those rumours.
Once we got there we were very efficiently ushered up on to the third floor, by the front of house staff on each level who already knew where we were headed before we got to them. Somewhat puzzling at first until we noticed the 'secret service' style two-way radio earpieces!
I had heard that the staff here could be a little un-friendly, and also that the service was poor. Well on the night we went, nothing could be further from the truth. The staff on our floor were extremely attentive, friendly, and always smiling. They were constantly topping up the obligatory tea, and also the water, and seemed genuinely interested in what we thought of the food.
For this visit, we mainly stuck to dumplings due to the time restraints, however I look forward to returning and checking out more of the menu, which seems quite authentic. The steamed pork, and pork and prawn dumplings were to die for. The wrappers (pastry? I'm not quite sure what you call it) were perfect - had just the right amount of give, until you broke through and the juicy insides started coming out for a huge flavour hit. They tasted extremely fresh and almost zingy, there was some ingredient providing a citrus-type flavour. The szechuan style chilli wontons, although had a 2-chilli rating on the menu, were not that hot, but were extremely tasty. The chilli hit was fairly subdued, only warming your mouth a few moments after you finished eating the wonton. The soup I chose (szechuan hot and sour) was delicious, not too spicy yet still full of flavour, and packed full of tofu pieces. We also tried the steamed dim sum, and the spring rolls, which were the best I have ever had! A huge call I know but they were amazing, with the best, crispy pastry.
All in all it was a great (albeit very quick) meal, and easy on the wallet too. I can't wait to go back for the Shao Long bao and the crispy duck.
Hutong Dumpling Bar
14-16 Market Lane