- Dress Code
Mon to Thu, 12.00pm – 12.00am; Fri to Sat, 12.00pm– 1.00am
- Private Room
Accept Credit Card
Fried fresh lobster, scallion and shallots
Fried beef cube with wasabi and soy sauce
Crispy salted chicken
Duddell’s is one of those places where you expect exquisiteness where design is concerned – with a super trio (Yenn Wong, Paulo Pong, Alan Lo) at its foundation and coveted interiors maven Ilse Crawford doing her magic with the space, it’s hard to think otherwise. Note the grand Shanghai Tang building within which the restaurant is housed, and the Duddell’s philosophy of bringing together all elements of culture (particularly food and art) into one package. When you finally emerge into the 3rd floor dining room, it really is like entering a particularly raucous dinner party session in an art hotshot’s lavish abode; large groups flank the sunny yellow banquettes toward the back, double dates dominate square and round tables for four; tables for two are comfortably but not massively far apart. The hard surfaces (plenty of polished woods and marble) means noise is amplified, ricocheting off the framed Chinese ink paintings and glossy pendant lamps. There isn’t much by way of a view, as the windows are obscured (though Duddell Street doesn’t offer much of a picture anyhow) but with the crowd that gathers here, you’ll be more distracted by opportunity for people watching.
As befitting a venue such as this, an elevated menu of contemporary Cantonese food is the stance the trio have taken, and we respect it for its creativity. Chef Siu Hin Chi, previously of the award-winning T’ang Court, heads up the kitchen here with a broad menu that addresses all the major Chinese classics – a solid selection of seasonal specialties starts off the proceedings, followed by double-boiled soups, chilled appetisers, roasted meats and so on, with plenty of pork, beef, seafood and vegetables along the way. Premium ingredients are to be expected, with many of their signature items crowing the use of wagyu beef and fresh seafood, though the simplicity of crispy salted chicken indicates a dedication to classic Cantonese methods and traditions. We recommend starting off with one of many double-boiled soups, which are slow-simmered to extract the cleanest, sweetest flavour from both prized and humble ingredients. A generous bowl of winter melon soup featured – apart from the namesake ingredient – plum pieces of dried scallop, shiitake mushroom and bouncy prawns. Each spoonful soothed us from the stomach to the soul, just as a hearty homemade soup should. Unfortunately our mains came halfway through, and were left sweating under a silver cloche until we finished. By then, the pigeon meat stir-fried with tender asparagus was just a shade over lukewarm. Also better piping hot were the signature beef cubes with wasabi and soy sauce that came as a generous pyramid of meat; we would have preferred more of the advertised wasabi as we swept it up with plenty of steamed rice. To end, a rather eclectic dessert menu includes items that may raise the eyebrows of traditionalists (if they were not arched already), such as chocolate and avocado sago cream. We opted for the classic almond cream and were satisfied with its balanced sweetness; meanwhile, the fried banana sesame balls were a favourite in terms of flavour, but came slightly warmed and soggy. For a restaurant aiming to be exceptional, we expected these classic dim sum sweets to be freshly-fried and arriving hot to the table.
A well presented wine list crafted by none other than Paulo Pong is certainly a highlight of this venue, and oenophiles will be reaching deep into their pockets for coveted bottles of Bordeaux first growths, mature vintages and famed French labels. There’s a reasonable number of tipples under HK$90 a glass, while bottles average HK$450 at the lower scale, then increasing sharply for premium vintages. The roster of gins, whiskeys and cognacs would also impress connoisseurs of a fine drop. Diners can also order from the cocktail list, which includes about a dozen Hong Kong-inspired libations, such as the Special Administrative Sazerac House (cognac and rye whiskey aged in bamboo, Sichuan peppercorn, hibiscus, and absinthe). For those more inclined to go easy on the alcohol, a sophisticated premium tea list is available.
Service is generally genial, but we felt that a few of the waiters were trying to hard sell the more expensive items on the menu when asked for recommendations. Eventually, we were satisfied by their more mid-range suggestions. Tea cups were frequently kept topped up and leftovers packaged without fuss.
A meal for two here with a glass of wine each can range between HK$1,500 and HK$2,000. It’s certainly not for those watching their bank balance, though diners can come to enjoy dim sum and noodles at the salon upstairs for a more casual experience.