Duddell’s does not sound or look like a typical Chinese restaurant. This relatively new restaurant in Hong Kong Central is a high achieving two-star Michelin Chinese restaurant. It picked up its first star in its first year of operations after it opened in 2011 and its second in the following year.
According to an article in the November 2015 HK Tatler magazine, the restaurant was based on the concept of giving patrons the feeling of dining in an art collector’s home. Which explains why the first thing that we saw on entering Duddell’s (都爹利會館) was a room with paintings and two ceramic sculptures – a leg of ham and two mouldy cabbages. We wonder what was the significance of these exhibits. The Triumph of Fungi?
There are several dining areas in Duddell’s, including the Salon and the members-only Library. Our lunch was in the main dining room of Duddell’s restaurant, an elegant and tastefully appointed space. There was nothing ostentatious or prominent in the decor, the whole thing simply looks well put together. Service was prompt and professional. The high ratio of staff to tables ensured that any service request was attended to immediately. At lunch time, diners have a number of options. There is an executive lunch menu, a dim sum menu and the regular menu. We opted for an assortment of dim sum and regular items. Here are some selected pages from Duddell’s menu.
Our lunch commenced with two dim sum items, shrimp dumplings (HK$60) and BBQ pork dumplings (HK$54). Both were good dim sum items but not much different from those at any good Cantonese restaurant. What was really good were the sauces provided. A dip into the chilly sauce easily transformed a shrimp dumpling from good to great.
The next item was the rice rolls fried in XO sauce (HK$80). This was a huge portion of fried rice rolls coated with delicious XO sauce. A perfect finger food to go with beer or cocktails during happy hour. We did not finish the dish as we had to save some space for the remaining items.
One item that kept getting mentioned in the various reviews we had read about Duddell’s was the crispy pigeon (HK$170). It was a dish that we were very curious about and had to order one. The pigeon was larger than we had expected and was laid out on the plate – head, wings and all. It was a plump and juicy bird. The taste was slightly gamey but very pleasantly so. The crispy pigeon was very good and lived up to its reputation.
Our final dish was sauteed water chestnut with asparagus and walnuts (HK$160). It was a pretty dish with a delightful mix of colours and textures. This dish of fresh vegetables was a clean tasting dish that showed off the natural tastes of the ingredients. A good contrast to the meaty taste of the pigeon.
Overall, lunch at Duddell’s was a great experience. The place was packed for lunch and reservations are essential. We had emailed them a week in advance to make our reservation.
Overall Rating: 5 TOPs
Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion
1 Duddell Street, Central
Tel: + 852 2525 9191