Restaurant review: Yauatcha
15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho
A friend took me to the Michelin-starred Yauatcha a couple of years ago, a visit I remember fondly (as you can see from my choice of profile picture on the right, recreated below). I recently found out that they do ‘A Taste of Yauatcha’ from Mondays to Thursdays, 2-6pm – a mere £28.88 for two people. I promised myself I would go soon, but then I realised that I have a full-time job, which in this case is a huge disadvantage. Until I discovered bank holidays…
I booked a table for the second May bank holiday, as my boyfriend also happened to be visiting. I counted down the days and even started following Yauatcha on Twitter – at this point I would like to add that they have one of the best Twitter feeds I have seen from a restaurant – thumbs up for that!
The day finally came. We walked in and had our coats taken by two friendly waitresses in pretty dresses. The shimmery blue décor was slightly overpowering, especially as it was a sunny day, but we were soon distracted by the smell wafting through the room. We sat down in anticipation and were asked to choose which tea we would like to accompany our 8-course dim sum offering. “The choice is slightly restricted, but you can choose from two black teas and a variety of blue teas”, our waitress informed us. My boyfriend and I eyed each other sceptically, as neither of us had ever heard of blue tea. Always up for a new discovery, we chose one which we were told was slightly milder than the others. I’m afraid I can’t remember the name, but it was absolutely delicious.
Despite most of Yauatcha’s Twitter activity being based around their beautiful dessert offerings, we stuck to the dim sum. We started off with har gau and a dumpling filled with prawn, cuttlefish and zucchini. The har gau was bursting with its prawn filling, which was a welcome change from those where the dough overpowers the inside and you end up tasting only the soy sauce you dipped it in. Speaking of sauces, we got two different kinds of chilli sauce, both of which tasted unbelievable.
Next, there was their most popular item, the venison puff. The pastry itself was a bit too oily, but the inside was divine – perfectly tender meat, perfectly spiced. Next to the puff we had a sweet potato mushroom mei-si roll, which was an interesting combination and beautifully crispy. Unfortunately, the prawn and beancurd cheung fun was slightly bland, despite the bed of soy sauce, but it was more than compensated for by the king crab Shanghai siew long bun and the prawn shui mai with chicken. I don’t quite remember which was the one where the liquid burst into our mouths in a delightful spurt, but I do know it was amazing.
But the crown jewel for me was the sticky rice in lotus leaf. After we established that the lotus leaf should NOT be eaten, we slowly devoured the rice inside, which was packed with hidden bits of chicken and prawn. Every bite had a different flavour, and I could have gone on eating it forever.
Go to Yauatcha! While the taster menu isn’t quite enough for a full lunch or dinner, it’s perfect as a pre-theatre ‘linner’, or ‘dunch’. And their a la carte menu is very extensive and caters to all tastes.