Monday, September 23, 2013

Yauatcha Special

"Can I tell you my first impression?" The cowboy asks as we walk through the blue glass doors to Yauatcha: "it's like a poor mans hakasan." I roll my eyes. It is owned by the same people I tell him; and together we dream back to that special night in February when we went to their newest outpost HKK - incredible.

On this night we were in for the £30 nine course tasting menu, with our banker friends who were just back from a trip to Mallorca where they overdosed on cocaine and spent the night with some friendly Spanish people they later realised didn't actually speak English. In their grey suits, they sat wired and with runny noses while as we receives our accompanying cocktails. They look like sleek Asian fusion. "Waiter?" I ask "is that a bamboo stick in my cocktail, or are you just really happy to see me?" No body laughs. 

Cocktail's included:

Then the food begins. This is a dim sum restaurant and the nine courses are really just nine plates of dim sum; which really makes this an Asian tea meal, rather than a dinner and considering that is is only 7pm everything is sort of adding up. 

Dim Sum:

Spring rolls, har gao, and fen guo. Honestly; I don't know what it all means, but one type of dumpling is closed and has prawn type stuff in side and another is open and looks more like it maybe has crab inside. We get lots of side plates with chile, soy and vinegar sauces to dip.  Most are actually really scrumptious; with pretty clean flavours considering that everything is baked or boiled in various doughs and batters. 

Some More Dim Sum:

To me the best were the baked venison puff and the sticky rice in lotus leaf with chicken and prawn. I couldn't really taste the prawn but the chicken was succulent and tender in a delicious sauce that perfectly balanced the sweet and yes sticky rice. It was very good; only outdone by my memory of a day long walk around Hangzhou where I ended up in another Chinese dim sum restaurant only to  feast forever on this menu item while over looking Xi Hu (or west lake); many things about that lonesome day stand out; few more so than that lotus leaf baked rice and chicken. In china apparently they have a saying that in heaven they have paradise and on earth we have hangzhou and suzhou. It's safe to say the food at least was otherworldly. Truthfully this little morcel comes in at a strong second place to the deliciousness of that day. Very wonderful. 

The venison puff on the other hand was stellar as a result of its unique fusion feel. It was equally small with heavy flavoured venison bits in again a perfectly spiced sauce inside some very proper puff pastry dough that had been ever so delightfully glazed. Even the runny nosed boys agreed this was outstanding.
Of course then we moved on to desert. We all got different stuff; me I got the green tea choux. It was ok. The green tea  was a little too green (colourwise; not taste wise. It was a little off pudding - pun intended!)
No Filter Green:

None of the other deserts I had were truly awesome; though they looked nice and sounded interesting.

Well I guess that sort of sums up Yauatcha. It is pretty reasonable value and it is also good food, which tries very hard, but misses the mark, at being outstanding. Which begs the question: is it then good value for money? When I think of the meals I have had at hakasan shilling out twice as much, or the meal at HKK for three or four times as much I say skip it. Save it. And go to HKK (or hakasan...). But really go to HKK - it is outstanding!

Unless of course it is actually Sunday afternoon and you feel like spending £30 on dim sum tea after shopping in Soho with tourists... Then Yauatcha is not at all a bad shout. 

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