December 30th; a day I always plan in advance for.
A day I go out of my way to bring happiness to one of the most important people in my life.
Let’s rewind to a few months ago. My MD at work asked me to look into different venues we could hire out for our work’s Christmas party shenanigans! We threw many different ideas in to the mix. Did we want a formal, civilised dinner? Or did we want a wild night on the tiles? We didn’t know! Turns out, we didn’t do either of those things. It did, however give me the perfect idea of where I could surprise my lovely other half for his 23rd birthday which was due in a few months time…
Hutong, Level 33, The Shard.
I must say, many people I know have done the ‘View From The Shard’ – as stunning as I thought it was bound to be, it was never something I planned on doing myself. I thought it would be pretty similar to going on the London Eye, if I’m honest. I could not have been more wrong. We didn’t need to do the view separately, Hutong gives an absolutely stunning view over London. It allows you to take in the breath-taking scenery and views that we would not normally appreciate as, I suppose, we reckon we’re used to it!
From the minute we walked in to the building we were greeted by lovely, polite men wearing tailored suits asking us where we were heading to. We were soon directed to the lift which would lead us up to Level 33 where Hutong and the other restaurants in the Shard await us.
I had high expectations for Hutong. Let me tell you, it was phenomenal.
From the sensational food, to the authentic interior design, to the exceptionally high standards of service, Hutong did not disappoint. Very kindly, the staff paid attention to the note I left upon booking our table – “this is a surprise lunch to celebrate my boyfriend’s 23rd birthday. Please would it be possible for us to be seated on a table close to the window? Thank you in advance”.
Not knowing how big the dishes were, we asked our lovely waitress how the meals are served. We were told that all dishes were designed for sharing so we ordered:
pork belly with cucumber slices, spicy meat dumplings in hot and sour sauce, crispy de-boned lamb ribs which had been marinated for 24 hours and spicy chilli chicken.
Are you done dribbling yet? Me neither! It really was as good as it looks!
The bill is served to you in this precious lock-box.
Cute, isn’t it?
There is a discretionary 12.5% service charge which is automatically added to your bill. I’m not usually one to tip very often, however, there was no way I could refuse to pay this. The staff were brilliantly attentive, without being overwhelming or in your face. They were more than happy to give us advice on which dishes were popular as well as how to eat them. There’s not a bad word I could possibly say.
This is a stunning feature in the restaurant. The Wishing Tree at Hutong started off with empty branches when the establishment first opened. Customers would write their wishes on to red cards and attach them to a branch on the tree. It’s an ancient tradition apparently. Unfortunately, we weren’t aware of this until afterwards so no wishes for us on this occasion. Maybe next time!!
After our meal we went somewhere a little more down to earth, literally.
We made our way to one of the many pubs in London Bridge; The Mudlark. What my other half didn’t know was that there was another surprise that was due imminently – the arrival of two of his buddies to join us for some celebratory drinks!
At high risk of sounding soppy and grossing my readers out; my priority was to make sure that the mister enjoyed his birthday. It’s always so important to me that he has the best day and I hope he enjoyed everything. We’ve been through a lot together and I love him with all my heart – I always will.
Happy 23rd Birthday, babe.
http://www.hutong.co.uk/ <<< I highly recommend you save the pennies (if necessary) & give it a go!