What: Set to become a key player in London’s regional Chinese food scene, Duddell’s is the first international outpost of the two Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant of the same name. It opened at the end of November, in the shadows of the Shard at London Bridge.
Who: Duddell’s is owned by restaurateur Yenn Wong’s JIA Group (which is also an investor in Jason Atherton’s Hong Kong sites). Chef Daren Liew, a Hakkasan alumnus, is heading up the kitchen. Liew, who has also worked at Duddells Hong Kong, has 20 years’ experience of Cantonese cooking.
The vibe: The restaurant has settled at the historic St Thomas Church at London Bridge. The vast space has been designed by Michaelis Boyd architects, which also designed Soho Farmhouse and Soho House Berlin. The design contrasts modern elements with the Grade II listed building, and is supposed to evoke the retro feel of a 1960s Hong Kong ‘tea restaurant’- albeit one with the high ceilings and vast windows of a British church. A standalone bar and a semi-private dining space on the mezzanine level bring the restaurant’s capacity to 100 covers.
The food: The Hong Kong outpost of the restaurant is known for its dim sum, and the London iteration maintains its reputation with an impressive menu of around 22 varieties, priced at £7-£9. Options include imperial king crab and prawn; black pepper duck pumpkin; pork siu mai; wild mushroom; and chicken and glutinous rice in a lotus wrap. Appetisers start at £8, and comprise the likes of wagyu beef in a crispy cup; salt and pepper squid with Hon Shimeji mushroom; and spicy almond soft shell crab. Larger dishes, starting at £16, are designed to be shared, such as Cantonese soya chicken; Peking duck served tableside with crisp skin to dip in sugar, salt and spices; and supreme lobster noodle, which is the most expensive menu item at £48.
And another thing: Duddell’s Hong Kong is just as serious about its art as its food, and hosts many cultural events and exhibitions of museum-quality art. The London outpost is expected to follow suit, with a programme of events scheduled to begin in the summer with a show by Hong Kong artist Nadim Abbas.