What better to do on Boxing Week than to contemplate on food experiences the past few months? I’ll start with a restaurant I visited when I went to Hong Kong earlier this year, Duddell’s. It’s the brainchild of a Hong Kong hospitality trio Alan Lo, Paulo Pong and Yenn Wong. Duddell’s is a unique space for social gatherings in Hong Kong, a combination of a dining venue, art gallery and member’s club. Although I don’t have a very deep experience of the Hong Kong dining scene I feel that Duddell’s is the only place in the city with this concept.
Since its inception in 2013 it has accrued two Michelin stars with the help of Siu Hin Chi from Michelin starred Tang Court. Duddell’s is very much an embodiment of Hong Kong, a tasteful mix of Western sleek and Eastern richness. The food is Chinese Cantonese with a contemporary touch.
Duddell’s is designed by Ilse Crawford. The venue is filled with eclectic furniture carrying a retro feel. The room breathes modern luxury while maintaining a comfortable atmosphere through the earthy tones of dark wood.
For dinner à la carte is offered along with a tasting menu. We were only two people so we went for the tasting menu to get a sample of a range of dishes.
Marinated Ox Tongue with XO Sauce
Mini Baked Crab Shell with Onion and Fresh Crab Meat
Marinated Pigeon in Huadiao Wine
Braised King Prawn in Sweet Chili on Crispy Rice
Beef Broth with Fresh Crab Meat and Coral
Crispy Pork Belly with Garlic
Fried Diced Vegetables in Lettuce Wrap
Japanese Noodles with Shrimp Wonton in Supreme Soup
Chilled Avocado Sago Cream
Chilled Red Bean Paste Roll with Coconut, Peanut and Sesame
Baked Pineapple Puff
The evening got a kickstart by a plate of excellent appetisers. The ox tongue had a mellow character with a very soft texture. The crab was also good but the best on the plate was the pigeon marinated in huadiao wine. It was fragrant and had a fine balance of light flavours, served cold.
The succulent prawns were cooked perfectly and had a bouncy texture. Sweet chili sauce had a faint trace of heat and predominantly sweet.
This was a dish with very delicate flavours. I liked the combination of silky textures.
The pork belly was very tender and retained all juices. It felt a bit one dimensional though without anything else to accompany it. As a piece of deep fried meat it was very well done though.
The lettuce wrap was served with hoisin sauce. This dish I didn’t understand. More could have been done with it as it felt rather uninspiring and flavours were quite plain as a dish on its own. Perhaps it would be better as part of another dish.
I loved this dish. The shrimp wontons felt very fresh. Both the wrapping of the wonton and noodles had a velvety smoothness that left me with a craving for more.
The Chilled Avocado Sago Cream was my favourite dish of the evening. It had a rich texture, light sweetness and was a perfect way to end a meal. The pineapple tart contained a soft filling and a bit different from pineapple tarts I’ve had in the past.
This is one of the few fine dining restaurants I’ve been to in Hong Kong so it was interesting to see how Chinese food combines with Western style service. The environment was relaxed and tasteful interior details made it a visually pleasing place to be. Although a calm environment it can sometimes, like the evening we went there, be disrupted by (music) performances in the room next to the dining room. The food was very good, with some dips in consistency as mentioned above. Maybe more interesting dishes can be found in the à la carte menu. Flavours were light and delicate. The biggest weakness of the evening was the service. It was a bit rushed, probably because we came early and it wasn’t very busy yet. Once a plate was taken from my friend who was far from finished with her dish without asking. Table maintenance was at times poor and not properly cleaned before dessert. Having said that I think that Duddell’s is a place worth going to and I will go again when in Hong Kong. It’s good to see new places offering Chinese food in a refined but not too stuffy or formal environment. Considering the character of the place it’s probably a good people spotting place as well.
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For more photos from Duddell’s 都爹利會館, please visit my Flickr set.
Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion
1 Duddell Street, Central
Tel. +852 2525 9191