Duddell’s has brought its take on premium Cantonese dining to the historic and striking location of a former church — St Thomas’ in London Bridge, built by Sir Christopher Wren’s master mason Thomas Cartwright — a follow-up to its Michelin-starred site in Hong Kong, which opened in 2013.
The menu blends the classic Cantonese restaurant canon with the contemporary, offering a selection of dim sum dishes alongside a main menu that showcases modern flourishes from former Hakkasan Group executive sous chef, Daren Liew.
Since the original Hakkasan site — in Hanway place, off Tottenham Court Road — gained a Michelin star in 2003, London has seen a notable uptake in both the number of Chinese restaurants showcasing the regionalities of the cuisine (from Sichuan to Hunan and beyond), and those showing a large degree of flair and ambition, such as Yauatcha and Park Chinois. A. Wong in Victoria is currently at the apogee of exciting Chinese restaurants in London, taking diners on a culinary journey of the country, and recently, rightly, awarded its first Michelin star.
Dim sum pricing is firmly at the top end of the scale for London (mostly £7 for steamed baskets), but the quality is high. Highlights include: har gau; black pepper duck pumpkin dumpling; prawn and crispy bean curd cheung fun; chicken and glutinous rice in lotus wrap; and pan-fried chicken dumpling. The ‘Cantonese Dim Sum Symphony’ is an eye-catching basket of steamed seafood dumplings featuring a couple shaped like goldfish (£16).
Chicken dishes including Cantonese soya chicken use the world’s finest Poulet de Bresse from Lyon, Peking duck is served tableside with crisp skin to be dipped in sugar, salt and spices, while the Duddell’s iteration of Supreme Lobster Noodle is suitably luxurious at the top end of the menu (£48). Yin Yang prawn is an interesting combination of crisp fried prawns in a yuzu/lime leaf sauce that contrasts sweet and sour elements (£16).
Bar seats will soon be installed to allow drinkers to enjoy a short selection of dim sum and bar snacks, alongside a playful list of cocktails (one featuring a Koi carp shaped jelly) and a thoughtful list of wines selected by sommelier Konrad Tadeusz Lassota.
Duddell’s has entered London’s high-end Cantonese restaurant category with distinct aplomb.