Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Food Review: Hutong TST, Hong Kong

Went to Hutong on Saturday, finally.

After all these years in Hong Kong, never did bother to try it since we have heard reviews that the food was average. People just head there for the view. They werent wrong. I really shouldnt have bothered. It was utter waste of time and money. Alot of hype without substance is how I would define this establishment.

We got there about 6.30pm since we were told that was the first seating, and the other was 8.30pm. The place was relatively empty when we got there. I didnt have a very good impression of the staff frankly. I thought they were rather stiff and snobbish, without a smile on their face. It was quite off putting for me.

We had wanted to try the Beggar chicken signature dish but was told that it was not available as it had to be pre-ordered. We werent told about it when we did the reservation a week back. You would think they would mention a thing or two. This place is obviously catered to tourists and you expect the tourist to tell you in advance what they want to eat in a place they had never been to or seen the menu before? It's pretty presumptuous and arrogant to think that people MUST have GOOGLED all great things about your dining establishment. So that was another point deducted. The staff must have seen my surprise when he said it was not available, and said he will check if there might be spare in the kitchen. He returned a min later, to say it was "All sold out." We are the first table, in first seating for dinner and you tell me its all sold out. To what? To who? Ghost in the restaurants?

Anycase, we ordered 2 starters - Bamboo clams and chilli squid. 2 mains - spicy chicken and grilled ribs. I had wanted the one with vinegar but my silly husband ordered the one grilled with fennel instead. Seriously darling, u know I hate fennel. Why on earth would you think I would order that is beyond me....sigh. Sometimes, I honestly do not know who goes through his head but that is husbands for you.

My hubby apologised later when he realised it was the wrong dish (seeing my pouty lips) but I let it slide. I just felt it was a pity rather than angry because I know I will never come back here ever again, and I was having a bit of a craving for vinegar ribs.

While waiting for our dinner to be served and sipping on our very insipid bland iced guava drink (which was supposedly to be very refreshingly good but NOT), we noticed crowds only started to stroll in at 7pm. My husband made a very pointed observation. How come other people are allowed to sit at 7pm but we were told we had to be in by 6.30pm and out before 8.30pm when we had wanted 7pm reservation? Why are there different set of rules? Quite unfathomable.

Dinner came dish by dish. The squid dish was rather uninspiring. It was like slices of rubber pieces decked in Singapore Chicken rice chilli sauce. I didnt even realise i was eating squid if I had not known what we ordered. The bamboo clams fared better but again, nothing that tickled my taste bud. The clams were rather small too.

The main came with the chicken and it was 7.10pm. I asked the dark faced, terribly unsmiling male service staff what was happening to my ribs. I didnt want to be served one dish at a time because I was getting full. I didnt want to have a plate of meat I couldnt finish because I was forced to eat a plate of rather badly cook spicy chicken that was neither sweet not sour nor salty. Just spicy. The service staff said the ribs will come shortly very soon. I gave it another 5mins and was fed up and so I waved for the guy again. I mean shortly means 5mins right? Not 5 hours.

I told the guy that "i dont want to be served one dish at a time and please get back to me how long more specifically I had to wait." The guy mumbled he will checked and then came back to "apologise" saying that the ribs need a very long time to cook, and it will take another 15mins more. WTF?! Didnt you just say it will come very shortly? And even if it takes very long to cook, what was happening between 6.30pm to 7.15pm? There werent any other patrons earlier, the half hour before. So it was a very unconvincing explanation but I didnt want to argue with him and told him fine, I will wait.

So 15mins later, my ribs did arrive. My husband said to me "Darling, the ribs you cook taste WAY better than this." He wasnt wrong. The meat tasted bland and unmarinated. The only flavor on it was the fennel. Period.

The view was certainly impressive for tourists. Not for someone who is already sick of the harbour view like myself having seen it day in, day out for a year while working in the tower by the harbour..

The food was really, really bad though. The bill came up to about HK$1200 between the two and by far it was the money most ill-spent on dinner in Hk for the longest time. Even Mac donald will taste better than this place, and I havent eaten Mac donald for at least 5 years. This is how I rate this place. Worse than fast food's food.

Come to this pretentious place if you just want to impress your date with the harbor view and city lights, but Dont come here if you want even basic mediocre food. If you have frens in town, you are better off taking them somewhere else. I dunno who man the kitchen in Hutong, but he deserved to be fired from the chef position. He has no concept of cuisine apart from choking you with spices. If anyone thinks this place serves great food, then obviously this person need to widen his/her palette for chinese food to understand why I gave this place such a poor rating.

No comments: