Chennai’s newest Chinese (Sichuan) restaurant is unassuming but will keep you coming back for more
(Images snapped on the iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9)
If you’ve restaurant hopped in London, there’s a good chance you might have ended up at Hutong. That’s an upscale restaurant housed in the Shard, one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. Chennai’s HuTong is tucked away, almost like a Hutong (the Chinese expression for alley) in Beijing. It’s unassuming, elegant and the interiors have some beautiful touches. Like an aquarium beneath your feet, that you might escape your attention (both my fellow diners didn’t notice it till it was time for dessert) once you sink your teeth into the dim-sums.
The dim-sums are a big draw in a menu that’s compact – a welcome relief from voluminous menus that can take forever to wade through. Portions are small; but the pricing keeps things in balance. The restaurant features two spaces; I particularly like the second, more private dining space that’s at the far end of the restaurant. Aside from the dim-sums and baos, do try some of their stir-fried starters. I’d certainly recommend the lotus stem that’s elevated by the generous sprinkling of Sichuan peppers.
I’ve always wondered why more Asian restaurants can’t do one-dish mains that combine a rice and gravy on the side. That’s one of the highlights of the HuTong menu. You can order your choice of noodles or rice with a gravy of your choice. Of course, you can order them as a dish by itself too. The burnt garlic rice and the chicken (or vegetables) with black bean sauce wins our vote. We were not overly impressed with the Kung Pao sauce.
Do stay for dessert and do sample the milk toast that gets a boost by a small act of showmanship – its caramelised with a blow torch on the table. And I almost forgot, don’t leave without washing everything down with their iced Milo. It’s the best iced Milo in town and I’m going back for my fill.
HuTong is at 34, Co Operative Colony Road, (Off Chamiers Road) Alwarpet, Chennai: 18. For reservations call: (044) 4266-1661 Meal for 2: Rs 1,500.