Our second visit to Hutong Dumpling Bar, Prahran, left a slight taste of disappointment in our mouths. Although the service has improved, the food seems to have gotten worse.
We started off with some Duck San Choi Bao, which were pretty tasty and very generously portioned. They obviously expect you to make a mess with these as you are handed a wet refresher towel (in a packet, like the ones KFC has except slightly fancier). I still prefer the class of a nice warm cloth hand towel.
We then received some Szechuan Pickled Vegetables, which were good at cutting through the heat from the rather nice Chilli Wontons that also arrived at the table (easily the best dish of the night), along with the Xiao-long-bao (soup dumplings).
The Xiao-long-bao, unfortunately, were nowhere near as good as they were at our last visit a couple of months ago. They had a mince like texture, and the pork stock within was thick, almost slimy, and too salty. The casing was also quite dense and sticky – so much so that they stuck to both of our lips.
Next up was the Pork and Prawn pan-fried dumplings. They sit on top of a thin, crispy, crepe-like creation – unfortunately the dumpling casing was, again, quite thick and chewy.
Being so full from all the thick dumpling pastry, we didn’t feel like dessert, so we asked for the bill and made our way home into the cold Melbourne night.
They could improve on a number of things at Hutong. Firstly, the atrocious spelling on their menu (I don’t think there is a page of the menu without a spelling mistake) just screams that they aren’t trying. Secondly, and more importantly, is consistency. They have been open long enough to have ironed out all the kinks. As they say, you are only as good as your last meal.
Next time, I think we’ll just go back to David’s.