Yauatcha - 4.0

You Dim Sum, You Win Sum

Dim Sum is one of those things I could not live without. A bit of a dim-sum snob, I don't think I am unjust to turn a nose at the nonsense that is served in the name of dim sum either. Just when craving after craving went unsatiated, Royal China opened; though not perfect, it hits the spot. However, I started getting restless with their limited menu that is begging for a change. And change finally came as Yauatcha.
I walked in to a sprawling space with steel, white leather and dark wood furnishings that gave it a sort of 'Stockholm Swank', while natural light floods through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. A great lunch spot I thought as I eyed tables of designer clad girls, the ever busy Blackberry Boys and the slightly out of place ones uncomfortably fiddling with their chopsticks.
The menu focuses largely on dim sum with a more modest list of mains, which I consider a waste of space during a dim sum meal anyway. Though one can never get too bored of the classics, I was excited to see several dim sum with a unique and modern spin on them.

Started with some refreshing ice-teas - Cucumber & Lime (w/jasmine tea) and Kiwi & Lime (w/passion fruit juice, jasmine tea). I really enjoyed these on that hot summer afternoon and the sweetness was just right which, is rare since most places tend to make cloyingly sweet or sour drinks. In fact they have a really nice selection of hot teas too - certainly worth a look.

I don't particularly believe in vegetarian dim sum but I had to try the Edamame and Truffle Dumplings. Three dumplings pretty as a picture came to our table resembling flowers in bloom. The filling was a delicious mush of edamame with the unmistakably rich taste of truffle. However the skin was a bit of a disaster — thick over-steamed glob that overpowered the delicate stuffing. So plus points for flavour combination but too mushy texturally.

The other vegetarian dumpling I tried very selflessly for you grass-eaters - upon recommendation - was the Vegetable Crystal Dumpling. Again the skin was way too over steamed, almost sticky and quite positively stodgy. Overall this one didn't do anything for me.

Sadly, this was not the last of the goo-attack, which continued with the Prawn Har Gaw. I did like the juicy prawn filling. The unusual sprinkling of dill was interesting, certainly not bad but think I prefer it the normal way without any dill.

The that followed had the thickest skin I have ever seen on a Sui Mai, which ordinarily has skin so thin that if it wasn't for the eye popping yellow colour you would barely notice it. And honestly sui mai is just not the same with chicken instead of pork - wonder why its always the poor sui mai that gets butchered to become the peace treaty for non-pork eaters! At least they generously crowned it with the mandatory Tobiko. I just love flying fish row- like bubble wrap for the mouth!

Though the flavours and juiciness of each dumpling were wonderfully addictive, this rudimentary mistake of over-steamed, thick and/or gooey skin, especially at a reputed establishment such as this is unforgivable. The importance of the skin should not be undermined — it may not always make the dim sum but it certainly can break it.

Our dim sum feast didn't end here, as we went on to a rather insipid Pork Spare Ribs with the usual fermented black bean; an unassuming looking dish, but when done right tastes divine and is one of my favourites. Unfortunately, the flavours with this one were as unassuming as its looks.

The Chilean Sea Bass wrapped in thin sheets of mooli was a light and enjoyable option. With very mild flavours that can most certainly be enjoyed by those that appreciate subtlety.
Warming up to the great — the Crispy Prawn Cheung Fan. Yes I did say 'crispy' Cheung Fan and I don't see how anyone cannot like this dish. Combines two of my favourite dishes. It's essentially light, crispy prawn tempura seductively robed in soft satiny rice noodles, doused with the quintessential sweet soy. Could eat a gazillion of these!

You either love Turnip cakes or you don't. I, for one, am quite positively obsessed by them. The turnip cake here was different from any other I have had as it was topped with a creamy mix of dried prawns, chives, chilli and egg. After all the 'dignified' dishes, it was delightful to dig in to this robust, slightly spicy and needfully greasy dish.

Just for the sake of this review, I reluctantly moved my attention to a few mains. Even though I had my eyes on a few more dim sum! I am still wondering why the Baked Lemon Chicken was so highly recommended – for the deep fried chicken was neither baked nor was that synthetic-tasting lemon sauce worth raving about. But this dish may work for some and it was more personal why I didn't like it rather than being too technically flawed.
The Crispy Aromatic Duck was really disappointing. Firstly, it wasn't all that aromatic. It sure was crispy but rather than just the skin it was crispy through out! In other words - overcooked, dry chewy meat - which to me is a cardinal sin! Would have rather kept this space for the stir-fried Penang Kway Teow which I have a huge soft spot for - wonder how theirs would fare.

Can't forget the vegetarians. So I ordered the Ma Po Tofu - Another favourite. Of course, I usually .. thats a lie.. only... like it with minced pork, but that is always rare a find here because again this dish is given as veggie bait. So anyway, what should have been a dish packed with flavour, tasted quite flat and boring. Just thick and corn-starchy without any "Oomph".

Minus the prawns being a bit overcooked the Steamed Prawns in Chilly were quite nice. The chilly sauce is purer to the oily starchy mess you normally get and is the same as the one that accompanies Hainanese Chicken Rice, which I just love. Little or no oil kept it light, while the lime and ginger gave it enough zing to be worthy of the chillies.
But all these paled next to the brilliant Baked Chilean Sea bass with Supreme Soya — tender, perfectly cooked fillets of sea bass enhanced with a light sweet soy glaze and a slight smokiness, fluffy egg whites and crunch earwood mushrooms. A sublime dish, so delicate were its flavours I was scared to chew. Certainly a must try.
Yauatcha thankfully broke the stereotype of 'Chinese restaurants and bad desserts'. The Ice-Creams were a little too sweet for my liking, but their Sorbets were absolutely wonderful! Especially, the Tropical mix of banana, coconut, passion fruit and mango sorbet.

The Raspberry Chocolate Delice was a revelation! I am a sucker for desserts that combine chocolate and berries. Starting bottom up with a thin layer of a chocolate hazelnut brownie, topped with a decadent chocolate raspberry mousse, with wonderfully naughty surprises of butterscotch coated chocolate pearls and a tart center of raspberry puree. The Delice was elegantly presented as a rose, dusted with red chocolate powder to give it a gorgeous velvety look. The Mandarin Tart maybe another dessert to look out for.

Though there were most certainly a few misses, I feel the good more than made up for the bad. I now wait patiently for Yauatcha Delhi — for there is most certainly a lot to look forward to.

Budget: Expensive.  Rs.5500 (without alcohol)

Alcohol: Yes

Outdoor Seating: No


022 26448888
Raheja Towers, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai

* Originally Published in the Sunday Guardian - http://www.sunday-guardian.com/a/14036 *

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