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.
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.