Please note: I was dining in the evening, and the venue is a low lit setting and therefore I had to make some adjustments to the images to ensure the images are not too dark and I do apologise for some of the blurred images (all images are taken on my phone).
Duddell’s London is Duddell’s first restaurant outside of Hong Kong, serving a range of delicious dishes. It is located in the Grade II-listed Queen Anne edifice of St. Thomas’ Church.
Many people would say London has a number of Cantonese food, and this is something I agree. But at the same time, many of the Cantonese food have been westernised to suit the taste of the locals and on a few occasions the authenticity of the Cantonese dishes seems to be very different to what you would expect when you’re in places such as Hong Kong and surrounding areas of Guangdong.
Duddell’s first restaurant outside of Hong Kong in a historic setting with uniquely shaped dim sum.
WHAT’S THE ROOM LIKE?
Having come across an email that mentioned about Duddell’s I had quickly made a booking to see what this restaurant will bring to the London dining scene, especially knowing Duddell’s is a famed restaurant in Hong Kong with two Michelin stars.
Duddell’s is located in the former St. Thomas’ Church, just a few minutes’ walk from London Bridge Station and The Shard, it took us some time to realise where the entrance actually was because it was dark and there wasn’t any signage available so it was easy to miss. We did however, noticed a few diners who were standing outside the courtyard area not knowing where the entrances were.
As you would have already guessed, the Grade II-listed Queen Anne edifice of St. Thomas’ Church do suggest that Duddell’s is looking to impress in their first restaurant outside of Hong Kong. When you walk inside, you’ll notice the beautiful stained glass windows, the high-ceilinged vaulted interior, a lot of noise, freshly made dim sum, a bar and I couldn’t help but stare at the lights. The hanging ceiling lights is a reminiscent of those evident around the 1901 era, it gives a rustic and gothic look made it feel like I was in an underground club which I really like.
If you ask me, I find the seating on the ground floor rather compact, I lost count of the times where somebody walks and kicks onto the chair I was sitting on, as well as brushing their arms and bags on me. I have to give credit to the front of house staff who managed to avoid a lot of that whilst serving the dishes.
It would be nice to see what the upper floors were like though but it didn’t seem like anyone was seated upstairs when we arrived – unless it was reserved for an event when we went, but I would have chosen to sit upstairs so I could appreciate the space of this 18th Century building.
I went to Duddell’s for dinner, I could only comment on the à la carte menu. It gives a nice variety of dishes that you would expect from a Cantonese menu and I like the selection of ‘Chefs Recommendations’ which is always helpful if you are unsure of what to order. There is a number of ‘high-end’ ingredients such as Australian Wagyu beef in supreme soy and spring onion, Sautéed beef tenderloin in X.O. sauce and Martell black pepper beef which made it quite special and provides a good choice of dishes.
I had a lot of things that I would love to try because the limited choice of dishes, all happen to be the dishes that I would order (if I had a larger stomach).
WHAT I ORDERED…
As we already had a delicious lunch beforehand, we ordered a small selection of dishes which were:
- Dim Sum “Symphony”
- Sweet and Sour Cointreau Berkshire Pork
- Stir-fried Kai Lan with Minced Chicken in Spicy Shrimp Sauce
- Egg Fried Rice
- Spicy Mint Prawn
- Crème Brulee (陳皮焦糖燉蛋)
For the drinks we had opted for the:
- Puer 2011 Tea
- Glass of 2916 Sauvignon Blanc
- Virgin Mojito
We ordered the Dim Sum ‘Symphony’ as a starter as that was one of the things that attracted us over to the restaurant. There was a nice choice of dim sum that one would expect, the symphony consists of a goldfish shaped prawn dumpling, jade-leaf king crab dumpling and scallop and prawn dumpling. It’s definitely something different in terms of looks, the photos on a number of websites were amazing. In real life, well, I’ll let you decide – but I have to say, the goldfish did look like it was pouting.
I always order a sweet and sour dish when I dine out as it had always been something I had enjoyed whilst growing up. Needless to say, apart from the crème brûlée, this was the dish of the evening. The Sweet and Sour Cointreau Berkshire Pork was delicious and you could tell it was freshly made, it gave a nice balance of crispiness and the firmness of the pork pieces along with the sauce made it very delicious.
The Stir-fried Kai Lan with Minced Chicken in Spicy Shrimp Sauce was delicious too as it helped balance out our pallets of the other dishes, I would normally choose to have garlic in a sauce poured over the Kai Lan, but this was something different – there was a combination of minced chicken to accompany the vegetable. I could hardly taste the shrimp sauce though, I’m not sure of the reason but shrimp sauce usually has a very distinct smell, which somehow encourages you to want to put it in your food whilst cooking. Don’t get me wrong, the dish was great but I was looking more for the shrimp sauce to go with my egg fried rice.
Spicy Mint Prawn isn’t something that I would normally order simply because prawns isn’t something that was spring into my mind when dining in a restaurant, but I enjoyed the slight crispiness of the prawns and it gave a hint of spice to it. The spice wasn’t overwhelming, instead it gave a slight sweetness to it which made it a delicious dish.
Lastly, let’s talk about the dessert. There wasn’t a single item on the dessert menu that stood out. But I was so eager to try their desserts and ended up ordering the creme brûlée because I saw 陳皮 in the name. 陳皮 is basically dried tangerine, it gives a slight bitterness of taste when you bite into it and 陳皮 can be used in a lot of soups and food. So with the idea of dried tangerine skin in the dessert, I know for a fact that the dessert wouldn’t be excessively sweet – and I was correct!
It’s definitely creme brûlée with a twist! As I took my first bite, I loved the rich and creamy pudding bursting out with a hint of sweet dried tangerine skin with mandarin and ginger bread. It was delicious and didn’t make me feel ‘too full’ afterwards, I didn’t enjoy the sorbet that went with the creme brûlée though but the sourness of it did help cleanse my taste pallet before I started on the delicious dessert.
WHAT I’LL GO BACK FOR…
The next time I visit Duddell’s, I will be ordering the Peking Duck. It’s usually the Peking Duck that get most of the attention as many restaurants tend to have the chef preparing the dish in front of the diners and that isn’t something you’d see everyday. Apart from that, I would return for Dim Sum during lunch time to see what it’s like during the day. The condiments (the chilli oil in particular) was delicious, usually they are used to enhance the taste of food, but the chilli oil was really good and would suit those who are unable to withstand the spicy food.
📍 Duddell’s 9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY
💰 Average cost for two / price range: £41+
💳 What I paid: £120 (approximate)