Monday, November 4, 2013

Restaurant Review: Duddell’s

Location: Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street
Type of food: Cantonese
Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

If you are looking for a Chinese restaurant with Western sensibilities, and if Lung King Heen is fully booked and you don’t have a membership at the China Club, then Duddell’s is your place. Opened in May, this high-end Cantonese kitchen atop the Shanghai Tang Mansion is a good place to entertain clients and overseas visitors. That is, if you don’t mind paying $1,000 a head for everyday food.

Duddell's at the Shanghai Tang Mansion

Duddell’s is the brainchild of local socialites Alan Lo, Paulo Pong and Yenn Wong. Lo is the founder of the Press Room, Pong runs a wine distributor, and Wong is responsible for 22 Ships and a pretentious Italian joint on Hollywood Road called 208. At the helm in the kitchen is chef Siu Hin-chi, whom the trio poached from the Michelin-starred T’ang Court.  

Duddell’s offers traditional Cantonese fare: crispy chicken, barbecued pork, fried prawns and winter melon soup. The quality is no better than your regular hole-in-the-wall siu chao (stir fry) kitchen, but the prices are about five times as high. Dishes in small servings cost $250 to $300 a pop and the tasting menu will set you back $980 per guest. Then again, no one goes to Duddell’s for its food.

While the dishes are overpriced, the wine list is surprisingly accessible – thanks to Pong’s connections in the wine world. At Duddell's, you can wash down roast duck and fried rice with a nice German Riesling for under $350 a bottle.

The trio behind the restaurant

Designed by Ilse Crawford, the dining room cum art gallery is tasteful, homey but disappointingly windowless. The space doubles as a venue for art events during off hours and is the kind of see-and-be-seen place where mood lighting flatters and a uniformed staff works hard to please.

Although the food itself is nothing to write home about, the swanky bar and salon upstairs is a different story. After dropping a small fortune on dinner, walk your guests up a flight of stairs for a round of dry martini. The well-appointed bar, flanked by a small library and an outdoor terrace, provides plenty of space where you can hang out for the rest of the night to get your money’s worth.

Given Hong Kong’s competitive culinary scene, a place like Duddell’s normally wouldn’t last more than a few months. But if Shanghai Tang or its landlord is willing to indulge this art collectors’ hideout and subsidize its rent, then the restaurant might have more staying power than what the skeptics think.

The upstairs bar is the main draw


  1. Hi Jason,

    The RealDeal blog is very interesting to me because your bite-sized reviews are very astute. So now I really look forward to more 15-sec reviews, and especially on the Nespresso flavors, not all of them please us really!

    So I really like Pierre Hermes and Laduree but would want to know why this trend suddenly tipped in the past couple of years. Any thoughts on Hong Kong’s recent hype for macarons? Are you fond of them or never obsess over these colorful French delights?


  2. Oh what a place I use to go there with my group and enjoyed every time..... Review is excellent and it deserves