BrunchDrink & Dine

The Insider visits : Hutong Dark Brunch

Hutong calls out to everyone looking to start their weekend mantra a little earlier than the rest of the city. The maze-like entrance grasps your reality into another dimension where Hutong thrives. The waterfall feature along with the large Hutong sign tablets embedded into the walls fade away by the striking red tree in the middle of the venue. A closer look shows off the red letters that guests hang on the Chinese wishing tree.

The Asian-centric restaurant marries in Arabic features with patterns and glowing lanterns donned across the space. The beautiful Moroccan-style arches behind the lively bar surprisingly melt well with the large wooden Chinese script tablet behind the DJ booth, positioned right beside each other. Give credit to the light effect or the visual aesthetics of playing with both cultural motifs, this is a design done well. 

The DJ welcomes patrons to the Dark Brunch with an exuberant tempo and the ambiance plays with many prominent and subtle hints of this evening party-brunch concept. Championing the theme, the waiting staff dons simple golden masquerade masks in the dark-ish room while their top-notch service shines through it. 

The Dark Brunch 3-course elevated menu is the perfect excuse to indulge in treasured favorites from the regular comprehensive one. The unlimited starters hit all the right notes with a variety of selections, from fresh to fried to steamed dishes. The innocent-looking Cucumber Rolls with a spicy kick compliment the sober crispy Bean Eggplant, which by the way is hard to guess unless told. Scallops with Sichuan Pepper, Prawn Rolls, and Shrimp Dumplings add to the visual and culinary charm for which Hutong is renowned. The Spiced Beef Xiao Long Bao is a special treat with a burst of saucy filling in every one of them. The steamed appetizers are presented in a large square bamboo box with an impressive display when the lid is open. The Cumin Scallop and Squid Dumpling particularly stands out.

As the culinary show is ongoing, so is the entertainment of the venue. The electric drummer slides across the floor from table to table with the glowing drum-top matching every beat with the DJ. The most welcomed distraction arrives with dancers decked in illuminated costumes and performing absolutely energetic dance routines. The entertainment never stops with many acts tied in well with guests engaging in the theatrics with sparkles and feet-tapping music. 

Let the ambiance and the entertainment engulf you as you sip on a premium selection of cocktails created by the expert Bar Manager, Andreas. The distinctive Floret Fizz is an elegant surprise with rose buds infused with Vermouth, elderflower, sparkling wine, and other mystical ingredients. The menu portrays a good selection of house spirits, and wines as well if you are a creature of habit.

Stepping into the second act, a choice of one main presents itself as a challenge to choose from a relishing range. Kung Pao Chicken, Sea Bass with crispy Leek, Beef Rolls and Stir-fried Black Bean are all sumptuous. Complementing these are Hutong Fried Rice and Lotus Stem as sides. The fried rice flavor with chili fennel seed paste is just out of this world; a stand-out dish by itself! 

Make sure to have your mind, body and soul prepared for the showstopper of the evening. Just as any event closes with a bang, Hutong delivers an astounding final act with the dessert platter. The stunning Hutong Dessert Platter arrives on a spinning platform with swirling dry-ice fog. This is just too beautiful to eat. 

At the top is the Golden Fortune which is a passion fruit ganache with a mango compote crown. Sharing a place on the platter is a selection of ice cream and ganache, with coconut flavor winning. Another interesting and insta-worthy element is the sesame-dominant Bao & Soy dessert. Looking like a bao bun, but unlike one, the outer layer crumbles easily giving way to sesame praline and salted caramel to flow through to enjoy with soy ice cream. For the sugar rush, fresh fruits keep the balance of the palate. 

Overall, this fine dining venue has brought a new vibe to the ever-popular DIFC. Explore the Dark Brunch for an immersive experience as you shimmy your way into the weekend.

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