In Hong Kong, the closest you can get to traditional Chinese courtyard houses commonly found in Peking’s fast disappearing hutongs (ancient valleys or lanes) is, surprisingly, not along Hong Kong’s own narrow streets but on the 28th floor of the ultramodern high-rise, One Peking Rood, in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Hutong has successfully recreated this historical charm reminiscent of such old courtyard houses, with its dramatic and post modern decor set against a backdrop of Hong Kong Island’s gleaming cityscape through full length windows. The juxtaposition of the traditional and the contemporary is what sets Hutong apart.
The ornate circular entranceway sets the enchanting mood as guests walk into the main dining area, beautifully carved antique wooden screens and rustic tables add to the traditional appeal of the restaurant while red lanterns and night candles lend a soft, sensual tone to the muted, minimalist feel of the cement walls and wooden floors larger than life bamboo birdcages, silk curtains and cushions, as well as black ceramic plates and bawls create an interesting texture to the Interiors.
Specializing in northern Chinese cuisine with some fiery influences from Sichuan Province, chef-cum-designer Calvin Yeung adds innovative flavors and cooking methods to traditional Peking dishes Some of the restaurant’s sought-after dishes include crispy lamb ribs coated with tantalizing spices and served on a long wooden platter, bamboo clams steeped in Chinese wine and chili padi, crunchy soft shell crabs made with Szechuan red peppers, and spicy soup noodles flavored by minced pork and peanut sauce, in 2005, Hutong became the only Hong Kong restaurant to be featured on the Conde Nast Traveller’s ‘Hot Tables’ list for its stunning setting and fantastic food.
Owners Calvin, who shot to fame in 2000 With his first solo venture, an exquisite Chinese restaurant called Shui Hu Ju-and David Yeo are both prominent figures in Hong Kong’s dining scene The formidable pair now owns six of the city’s most respected and raved-about restaurants.
Upstairs to Hutong, Aqua presents Italian and Japanese cuisine in one dynamic, stylish setting, located in Festival Walk, the mall above Kowloon Tong Station, Thai restaurant Ayuthalya emulates a sophisticated atmosphere lilted by pink backlit walls. At Times Square in Causeway Boy, Wasabisabi offers a contemporary environment for fresh, zingy Japanese cuisine while the nearby Water Margin wraps itself In traditional charm and ambience; and is perhaps the closest relative to Hutong itself.