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My Hundredth Meal at Yauatcha

That is a lie, really.

The first time I went to Yauatcha was probably four years ago. And I never count how many times I returned to this trendy, but no fuss–are those terms contradictory?–dim sum tearoom-restaurant in Soho. I just happen to go there very, very often because the people there can really do amazing dim sum, with a great selection of Chinese tea and cocktails, too.

Being 90% a teetotal, Yauatcha is like my drink heaven. I love their Mandarin Juice–Mandarin orange juice with chilli, lime and lemongrass! As for the food, last time I went I ordered this very crispy aromatic duck, served with pancakes, Hoi Sin sauce, Thai cucumber and spring onions and these very meaty Spicy Sichuan Wantons–my other bib’s most favourite dish. Usually, most Chinese restaurants in London will just do wantons and topple them with chilli oil, hence lacking in dimensions, but Yauatcha’s take is their very unique recipe for the chilli oil that is spicy but with a hint of sweetness.

Apart from the Spicy Sichuan Wantons, what makes Yauatcha stand apart from other dim sum places, say Royal China, Royal China Club, Yi-Ban, Lotus, Imperial China? Sorry, folk, we are not talking Ping Pong here!

Yauatcha is, well, where innovations meet the classics. You’ll find heart-warming Char-Siu buns along with very plump Har Gau and Congee with 100-Year-Old Egg. Also you’ll find some very modern take on Char Siu Puff with the pork being replaced by venison! This is Yauatcha‘s classics and all-time favourite of mine.

More recent additions to the menu are:

(1) King Crab Dumplings
A hell lot of crabmeat!!

(2) Spiced Duck Wrapped in Beancurd Sheets, Cloud ears
Subtle flavours with contrasting textures of duck, beancurd, cloud ears and shitake mushroom.

(3) Pork Loins in Black Bean Sauce
Ultra-tender pork comes in bite size. Also very subtle flavours from the sauce, which I find to be a refined version of the usually bold black bean sauce.

(4) Shanghai Dumplings
Crispy fried and served with soy and vinegar dipping sauce.

(5) Deep Fried Squids with Chilli
Another traditional dish with an innovative take of broken savoury wafers to add extra crisp and crunch to the perfectly deep fried squids. Very hot!

Who is behind this culinary delight? As the name of the restaurant suggests, Mr Yau! Yauatcha suggests something that can be understood as Yau‘s tearoom, and behind this reign of great dim sum lies Alan Yau, a man of very great taste buds and amazing entrepreneurial skills. Why am I saying this? Two of his nouvelle-chinois restaurants, Yauatcha and Hakkasan, each have a Michelin star; his trendy high-street eateries, Cha Cha Moon, Busaba Eathai and Princi, are doing fantastically well if you judge from how many people are willing to queue for a table there, whilst his high-end Japanese restaurant Sake no Hana is rolling out brilliant sushi. Oh! Haven’t I told you Alan Yau was behind the monumental success of Wagamama, too? The quality is sinking since Yau sold his stakes, though.

If you don’t fancy paying too often for a restaurant of this calibre, check out Lotus, which I’ve blogged about. It’s a good and very cheap dim sum place!

Enough said ….

My head rating says, “8 out of 10″.

My heart rating says, “9 out of 10″.



15 Broadwick Street

Tel. 020 7494 8888

NOTE: Stick to the dim sum dishes, not the larger ones.

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