Food Review: Hutong, The Shard
IN A NUTSHELL
What better way to enjoy the best views in London than while eating at Hutong?
I'd got fed up of staring up at that strange obelisk-like structure. I've watched it close-up from London Bridge while waiting and waiting for delayed trains.
And I'd stared at it from a distance from the riverside at Westferry, looming large over the horizon.
I desperately wanted to go but the first time had to be special didn't it? So the chance to go to Hutong on level 33 was too much to miss.
"Level 33?", they scoff in E14. "But there's 50 floors on One Canada Square!"
Yes, it doesn't seem much in theory, and 33 is just over a third of the skyscraper's total, but The Shard has the benefit of being a giant among its neighbours.
Look out of an OCS window and you're likely to be confronted by Barclays or Citi officers and a suit peering grimly back at you.
Sitting at your table at Hutong and you're the king of London with just a thin piece of glass - yet huge and I'm sure solid enough - separating you from the whole of London.
Even in drizzle it's an awesome sight, which sadly detracts from the beautiful interior of the Chinese restaurant, with the decor shipped in from Asia.
Plenty of bamboo, beautifully crafted hard wood chairs and a tree dominating the centre of the room, it's a truly charming setting.
As for the food, we went for the dim sum as starters, which are perfect on their own for a quick lunch. Delights such as rose Champagne shrimp dumplings and scallop and pumpkin dumplings were delicious.
But greed set in and it was worth it. Mains of chilli beef and a hot Wuan-style cod fillet were equally mouthwateringly spectacular.
The prices aren't cheap but you wouldn't expect them to be. You get what you pay for.
In summary, I can't put it better than a gent lingering in the bathroom, jumping from foot to foot, more in awe than anticipation. "Cor blimey, look," he said. "Even the khazis are blindin'."
And that, you'll have to see for yourself - unless you're a woman and then you'll have to send someone in to take photos because apparently yours won't be as good - but I will say I probably won't look up at platform five the same way again.
Hutong, Level 33 The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY, 020 3102 1655, aquahutong.co.uk.