The Shard’s Northern Chinese restaurant Hutong, which offers “exceptional vistas from the 33rd floor” welcomes new head chef Fei Wang. Originally from Chengdu – the capital of China’s Sichuan province – he introduces a refined and contemporary take on authentic dishes.
Offering a different approach to most Cantonese-inspired Chinese menus in London, Hutong serves food from areas further north in the country such as Sichuan, Shandong and Beijing. With China made up of so many different provinces, the cuisine is distinctly regional and varies hugely across the vast country. As misleading as it is to generalise ‘European cuisine’ the same applies to China, as the flavours, produce and techniques differ from north, south to central.
Fei’s culinary career amasses from his training across China, starting at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine in his birthplace of Chengdu. He then moved on to the Sichuan Hotel and Huayuan Hotel, followed by six years spent as head chef at Hong Yun restaurant.
His menu offers delights such as Sichuan-style deep fried lobster, served with an abundance of red and green chillies and salty black beans. The lobster sits alongside Ma La crispy eel; ‘Ma La’ comes from two Chinese characters meaning, respectively, ‘numbing’ and ‘spicy’ and describes the sensation in the mouth the dish creates. Originally found at the street food markets of northern China, a refined take on the classic is served at Hutong.
New dishes include: Fried Yu Xiang tofu (translated as fish flavour tofu – widely one of the most popular ways to eat tofu in the region) has a kick, from chilli paste made with garlic, ginger and Chinese wine vinegar. Fresh Chinese asparagus heart is seasoned with Fei’s ‘hula dressing’ – a heady mix of chilli, peppercorn and hot oil. Roasted baby pigeon invites guests to marinate the meat themselves in a traditional Lau Zi Hao five spice mix, combining chilli, dried shrimp, peanut and sesame. Finally, Red star noodles sees a northern Chinese twist on the southern delicacy.