Saturday, March 06, 2010

Hu Tong (Prahran 02/10

It surprised me that readers in a survey we did claimed to be little influenced by restaurant reviews. We are certainly inclined to avoid places that get bad reviews and want to go to those that reviewers favour. Without John Lethleans’ very positive remarks about Hu Tong I doubt we would have ever gone there. It’s a dim sum specialty Chinese restaurant, they also have a a la carte menu, opposite the Prahran Market on Commercial Rd. It occupies a very attractive space on the ground floor of the very new and very modern Cullen hotel. It is bright and open

with large glass windows facing an open entrance passageway and the street. They have two sessions for Sunday and we came, as requested, at 11.30 for the first sitting. It took some time before any food became available. It was presented by waiters moving about with trays of the usual things served at Yum Cha. Service was, to put it mildly, erratic. Requests were forgotten, they presented the same thing several times at some tables and missed other. Food was well prepared, the pastry for the steamed sea food dumplings finer than most but the Shanghai pork dumplings, large portion, which we had to order and waited over 40 minutes for was thicker and coarser than usual. The dumpling did contain a mouth wateringly flavour full soup encouraging us to eat more than we originally intended. Some of the other dumplings also had a heavy pastry. Another highly recommended dish was their tofu.
This silken loaf, bathed in a dark sauce had a velvety smooth texture delighted any tofu lover.We also tried several other very ordinary dishes. Drunken chicken cooked in rice wine,
battered crispy calamari
and large, very crisp Bankers purses
added nothing special to the lunch.Undeterred we kept trying more dishes. Scallops in a bread batter,

pot stickers and more steamed food.

Only a foodaholic would order another dish after that dinner so of course we did. Here it is. Can anyone guess what this dish was?

Comments: Everything was done wel, indeed very well,l but there was a lack of inspiration in the food. The variety was limited in that there were no offal dishes at all. No chicken feet or duck web,or duck tongue, no tripe, indeed nothing from inside an animal. A very pleasant venue but rarely rising above the very ordinary.

Score:13.75 /20


Vee - A Melbourne Munchkin. said...

That's interesting to know - I really enjoyed my dinner at HuTong in the city, and service was not bad at all...our xiao long baos were fantastic too. This is actually the second review I've read that says HuTong Prahran doesn't live up to expectations, inconsistency perhaps?

Elliot & Sandra said...

Hu Tong certainly provides quite a good Yum Cha. We just founf it a bit boring. We did also come with high expectations. Uninfluenced by other reviews we may have had a more benign view of it.

Anonymous said...

WORST EVER. Food was cold and service was non-existent. Might have been because it was bitter cold outside, or because the restaurant was 3/4 full, or because the waitresses were pushing around the same food for two hours, or because it took us 3 goes to get our Shao-long bao, or because we were the ONLY ASIAN customers. Who knows?!?! But like I said on the day. I make better out of my microwave.

Elliot & Sandra said...

Your experience is close to ours and if anything our mark is on the generous side. Service was generally poor but mostly we had better luck with the food. For yum cha I certainly prefer Ripples or
Imperial kingdom in the suburbs or Shark Fin House in the city.

Anonymous said...

Quite surprised how our dining experience at HuTong was dissapointing. We even left after entree was served because of the service and bad attitude from the staff! They were unhelpful and were not friendly at all. I will not be returning to this restaurant and dont recommend it.

Elliot & Sandra said...

I wonder if Epicure and its great position can save HT. With universal dissatisfaction with their service one would think it will fail before long.