Little Black Book of Dining: Yauatcha
In the heart of Soho on a soggy Thursday evening, we were welcomed into an open plan spot-lit basement reminiscent of an exclusive nightclub; this was certainly not a traditional Chinese teahouse.
Closely packed tables resulted in a more intimate dining experience than I would ideally like, but nonetheless this proximity gave us the opportunity to subtly assess the best dishes adorning each table and make our menu choices accordingly.
We opted for an array of dim sum and smaller dishes, starting with what I cherish as the holy grail of Chinese cuisine: char sui buns. The buns looked beautifully fluffy and the barbeque pork filling was rich and tangy, but the dough was slightly chewy and overcooked. Har gau was distinctly average and too large for one mouthful, with prawn leaping away from its translucent wrapper as soon as it was cut. Soft shell crab arrived on a bed of flaked almonds spattered with chilli and seaweed. The crab itself was flavoursome but the proportion of crab to almond bedding was disappointing.
The stand out dishes were the earthy three style mushroom cheung fun parcels, bursting with enoki and drizzled with a salty sweet sauce. Spicy aubergine and pak choi with oyster sauce were equally moreish, with vibrant colour and a satisfying texture contrast between the silky aubergine and crunchy greens. Nala iced tea enriched with vanilla, passion fruit, cinnamon, chilli and jasmine proved the perfect antidote to the spicier dishes.
For dessert, we had been well advised to try the macaroons. Yauatcha have evidently reached the pinnacle of macronage technique as our tiramisu and salted caramel macaroons were utterly delicious.
In addition to the macaroons, the mango mousse with pineapple and anise was light and palette cleansing, but the enticing green tea choux with hazlenuts, curd and confit was dry and looked oafish on its dainty glass plate.
Yauatcha has an ambience and menu to impress, but some classic dim sum items lacked the Michelin sparkle that I was hoping for. The cheung fun and macaroons make Yauatcha deserving of a visit, but head to hidden teahouses elsewhere in London for a reliably satisfying dim sum feast.
The Finer Details
The Restaurant: Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 0DL
Suitability for Casual Dining: 4/5
Suitability for Corporate Dining: 4/5
Best For: A night to see and be seen
The Damage: Around £70 for a selection of dim sum and dessert (x2 people), excluding alcohol. Cocktails are £11 each, with wine from £29 a bottle.
How to Book: Call 020 7494 8888 or click here
Image Credit: timeout.com