My husband and I arrived very early for our 7:30 p.m. booking. We thought we might as well maximize the strict two-hour time limit on the table by having lychee martinis while waiting for our friends. With our drinks we ordered the baked venison puff which is like a baked charsiubao except that this time it was filled with venison instead of the traditional roast pork – the pastry was crumbly and the filling was salty-sweet. We pre-ordered our dim sum and asked the waitress to start serving them as soon as our friends arrived. Yauatcha is a dim sum restaurant so the menu is divided into – steamed, fried, baked, grilled – and the items are served as soon as they are cooked.
We started out with Steamed Chilean Sea bass roll and Steamed spinach cube with prawn and water chestnut – both delicious yet simple with the distinct flavor of the sea bass and the prawn. Then we had the Prawn Cheung fun (flat rice noodles with prawns and light soy sauce) -which was a bit bland. Of course we couldn’t resist the half portion of Crispy aromatic duck served with the cucumbers, spring onion, Hoisin sauce and pancakes. The duck was perfectly fried, crispy but not dry and not at all oily. We must have had six pancakes each – it was that good!
Four stir fry dishes followed – Mongolian Rib-eye beef which was very tender and tasty and the Crispy Szechuan beef with mango served alongside Baby Pak Choi with salted fish and Singapore fried noodles. The stir-fry dishes were a bit of a disappointment except for the Mongolian beef. They just didn’t stand out like the dim sum.
The amazing thing about Yauatcha is the place itself – the slick modern interiors designed by Christian Liagre (check out the fantastic aquarium bar) and the building itself care of Richard Rogers. I wouldn’t say that the food was better than the typical, noisy and white-tablecloth Chinese restaurants in London’s Chinatown but if you want to have very good dim sum in a hip and happening atmosphere and lots of people-watching then Yauatcha is the place.
Yauatcha – 15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0DL
Tel: 020 7494 8888
(Book at least a week in advance and be on time because they don’t extend the 2-hour time limit on the table)
Sample menu –
*Hot Tip – When they not so subtly place the bill on the table to encourage you to leave, walk down the road to The Player (8-12 Broadwick St.) and look for the nondescript entrance right beside the SpaceNK and have some fantastic cocktails with lounge-y music from the live DJ.