Duddell’s is a two-story Cantonese cuisine restaurant, gallery and bar located in the heart of Central. Founded by entrepreneur Yenn Wong, whose other restaurants include Ham and Sherry, 22 Ships, Aberdeen Street Social, Chachawan and many more. With the tagline, ‘honest about art, serious about food,’ Duddell’s is a place where you can view art exhibitions curated by prominent art personalities, while savoring delicious Michelin starred Cantonese cuisine. The restaurant’s downstairs dining room menu features a wide array of Cantonese cuisine and seafood, and upstairs is the salon and library, where guests can enjoy simple dim sum dishes over a glass of wine or tea and relax in the outdoor garden terrace.
What sets Duddell’s apart from other Chinese restaurants?
Here in Duddell’s, the focus is on traditional Cantonese cuisine but we have added some modern elements into it. For instance, we use expensive Western produce but cook it with traditional Chinese methods, which are essential in making good Cantonese food. Our chefs are good at bringing out the best flavor in the produce.
What are your top three recommended dishes at Duddell’s?
‘Steamed egg white with imperial bird’s nest, fresh crab claw & caviar,’ ‘the crispy salted chicken,’ and ‘pan-fried M9 Australian Wagyu beef in wasabi soy sauce.’
‘The steamed egg white with imperial bird’s nest, fresh crab claw & caviar,’ is a signature dish at Duddell’s and a very classic Cantonese dish. It is important to ensure that the texture of the egg white is smooth, and the key to this is to control the temperature of the stove well, as well as maintaining a perfect balance of the proportion of the broth and egg white.
For ‘the crispy salted chicken,’ the taste is similar to traditional poached chicken, but the salted taste is much richer. This is because during preparation, we air dry the chicken for 12 hours after we soak it in a hot chicken broth. When we receive a customer ordering the dish, we will fry the chicken with hot oil to give it a crisp, wafer-like skin. Since there is less water in the chicken, as it has been air dried, the taste is much stronger.
The third dish that I recommend is the ‘pan-fried M9 Australian Wagyu beef in wasabi soy sauce.’ It’s kind of like a fusion cuisine where we cook the Australian M9 beef with Cantonese style. After we pan fry the beef to medium rare, we cut it into small cubes and fry them in the Chinese wok. We add Chinese sauce such as oyster sauce and light soy sauce. Hence the dish is a fusion, as it is Western produce cooked in Chinese style. To increase the distinctive taste of the beef, we pair them with wasabi.
Other than these dishes, Chinese soup and broth are also our signature dishes here. For instance, you can try the ‘doubled boiled fish maw with Chinese cabbage and black mushroom.’
As for our dim sum menu, we change it once every two months. Recently, our key features are white asparagus and mushrooms for May and June, such as the seasonal dish ‘Matsutake mushroom stuffed, grouper, scallop, shrimp paste.’ This dish resembles a ‘tiny sandwich,’ using two Matsutake mushrooms as ‘bread’ and grouper as stuffing. When the weather gets hotter over the summer, winter melon will be the key.
You’ve won Best of the Best Culinary Awards twice, once for the seafood category and another time in the lobster category. Why do you like cooking seafood?
Cooking seafood is really my expertise. I like to cook seafood because I find it the most challenging cuisine to cook well. You must control the temperature of the stove perfectly and you only have one chance to do it. In Cantonese cuisine, I term it as a ‘one moment experience.’ For instance, when I steam a fish, I can’t open the wok again and see whether the fish is over cooked or not; when I put the fish into the wok, I only have that one-time opportunity to ensure the temperature of the wok is ideal, the amount of water in the wok is suitable, and the ingredients that go with the fish are all perfect. Also, Chinese like to eat seafood so that’s why I like it as well. Here in Duddell’s we have a lot of seafood dishes.
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm; Sun 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
By Emily Chan