David Yeo on Hutong at The Shard, restaurant design and operating at height

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Skyscraper

Hutong at The Shard - the second of three restaurants to take up residence in the iconic London skyscraper - opens today. Ahead of the opening, BigHospitality was invited to tour the restaurant and meet David Yeo, the owner and founder of Aqua Restaurant Group, for an exclusive video.

Located 33 floors above the capital, Hutong specialises in contemporary Northern Chinese cuisine which is also on the menu at its namesake in Hong Kong - a venue which boasts the record of becoming the first Chinese restaurant in the region to win a Michelin star.


Hutong is one of two restaurants which Aqua Restaurant Group will operate in The Shard

Yeo, who founded Aqua Restaurant Group in 2000, did not receive the same critical success for his first two London restaurants which launched in a site on Regent Street in 2009. The Singaporean-born British lawyer saw Aqua Nueva and Aqua Kyoto receive a number of negative reviews.

However, speaking to BigHospitality, Yeo said the critics had not caused any damage to his business and explained he was hoping the public would take to Hutong and Aqua Shard, which opens next month, in the same way they did to his first London sites.

Hutong, named after the alleyways of Peking, and Aqua Shard both feature high-end design elements which have become a trademark for the group - Yeo designs all the interiors for the venues himself.

"It is a first for London," Yeo explained in the interview which also touched on the difficulties of operating at height and the challenges of designing the interiors for a venue which already boasts such incredible views. 

"Every designer will have their own take on it - mine is simply to pay homage to the views and don't compete with them as they are really beautiful. The views can only take you so far though. Diners won't keep coming back for the views alone, what will keep people coming back is the food and service."

London hub

David Yeo. the group's founder, designs the interiors for all his restaurants

Aqua Restaurant Group now operates 23 restaurants in Beijing, Hong Kong and, of course, London.

Yeo revealed that despite immigration policies impacting his growth plans he was establishing a 'hub' for the group in the capital - a number of UK jobs have been created including a communications manager. 


While Aqua Shard will feature a contemporary British menu and a bar focused on tea and gin, Hutong's menu is inspired by cooking in both the Shandong and Sichuan provinces.

Soft-shell crab with Sichuan dried chilli and crispy de-boned lamb ribs will both be signature dishes as will the roasted Peking duck which will be roasted on site in a dedicated kitchen in view of the diners. A dim sum menu will also be available at lunch.

Cocktails inspired by Chinese medicine will dominate the bar menu which also features traditional wines and spirits.

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1 comment

Looking forward to this

Posted by Garfield Robinson,

This restaurant sounds really great and I am really looking forward to dining there soon

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