Address: Levels 3 & 4, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central 中環都爹利街1號上海灘3至4樓
Telephone: 2525 9191
The craze with the new Spanish restaurant, Catalunya (see my review here), is not even over and Hong Kongers are already looking for the next it-restaurant in town, and currently, Duddell’s is undoubtedly the hottest spot to see and be seen.
Located above the Shanghai Tang flagship store on Duddell Street, Duddell’s is a pioneering venue that combines art and dining in a way that no other restaurant in Hong Kong ever has. Instead of being a sleek restaurant decorated with expensive art works, think more along the lines of dining inside an art gallery. Indeed, designed by Ilse Crawford, Duddell’s, with its marbled walls and distinguished Chinese paintings, is a venue that exudes a sense of elegance and finesse.
The restaurant is opened by the powerful trio of Alan Lo, Paulo Pong and Yenn Wong (of 22 Ships and 208 Duecento Otto fame), and the kitchen is helmed by Chef Siu Hin Chi, who previously worked at the Michelin two-starred T’ang Court. The cuisine is mainly Cantonese classics, with a few creative dishes creeping up on the menu for a bit of fun.
While lunch here is not prohibitively priced (at around $300-$400 per head), the bills for dinner are not for the faint of heart, and are typically $600- $1,200 per head (that is, without ordering any of their birds nest and abalone dishes).
This quirky man printed on the menu is the legendary Mr Duddell.
(1) The Barbecued Pork with Honey ($240) was a job well done – the pork was soft and succulent, and the honey glaze was sweet and scrumptious. A little pricey though for the portion!
(2) The Steamed Rice Roll with Beef, Water Chestnut, Dried Tangerine Peel ($80) was a classic yet tasty dish, with the softness of the rice roll and the beef broken up by the mild crunch of water chestnut.
(3) The Baked Oyster with Port Wine ($280, 4 pcs) was tangy and completely satisfying.
(4) The steamed dim sums, however, were less outstanding. The Steamed Lobster Dumpling with Shrimp and Scallop ($60 per piece) was generously filled with seafood, but the taste was too mellow and did not do justice to the expensive ingredients.
(5) The Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling with Morel Mushroom ($60) followed. There was an intense taste of black truffle in the first bite, but the flavours that followed paled in comparison.
(6) The Fried Noodle with Shredded Squid ($200) was a symphony of brilliant, vibrant flavours. The eggs, vegetables and noodles were brought to life by the crispy, deep fried squid.
(7) Besides the barbecued pork, these Baked Pork Puff with Scallion ($54) were also delightful, and inside a layer of thin, buttery crust revealed some warm, sweet filling.
(8) The Deep Fried Taro Puffs ($54) were served piping hot, and everything, from the crispy outer layer to the smooth taro and pork filling, was spot on.
(9) The Fried Rice Roll with XO Chili Sauce ($80) was an instant addiction. Crispy on the surface and silky smooth on the inside, each rice roll was flavourful with a spicy kick – simply irresistible!
(10) The desserts arrived, and the first one was the Caramel Baked Sago Pudding with Lotus Seed Paste ($60), an old-school Cantonese dessert which was warm, rich and creamy.
(11) The Baked Kumquat Puff ($48) also arrived, and the citrus taste of kamquat was marvellous in cutting through the buttery taste of the puffs.
(12) Last but not least, the restaurant’s unique creation of Chilled Avocado Sago Cream with Chocolate ($50) did not disappoint. Even though the taste of chocolate and avocado were mild, this creamy soup was playful and utterly delicious.
The food at lunch was certainly decent, but might not necessarily be able to justify the hefty price tag. That said, Duddell’s is definitely one of the classiest Chinese restaurants I have visited in Hong Kong, and in terms of decor, it certainly ranks among the likes of China Club (a members only restaurant) and Tin Lung Heen (at Ritz-Carlton).