Restaurant Review: Yauatcha, Soho in London
Before heading to dinner at Yauatcha, I made a stop at Alan Yau’s new Chinese-cum-Gastro Pub, Duck and Rice. The perfect place to visit at the end of a working day, it presents a long list of beers, ales and lagers from around the world. My gloriously cold pint was complimented with a bar snack of melt in your mouth warm Chilli & Shallot Cashew Nuts. The wait is well worth it, as they prepare them freshly for you. There are so many other exciting varieties of beer snacks on the menu that it would be easy to perch at the end of the bar and work your way through them all – I will have to save that one for another day.
After being given a tit-bit reminder of Alan Yau’s genius at Duck and Rice, I wondered to myself how Yauatcha had been doing since Alan Yau sold his shares in the Hakksan Group in 2008. My attention turned to the restaurant next door, and so did my taste buds, which were now jumping around to see what was in store for us. Now in its 12th year in London, Yauatcha still offers some of the best dim sum outside of China. Awarded a Michelin star in its first year, Yauatcha has proudly held the star ever since. Not only do they offer the finest dim sum, they also have row upon row of colourful macaroons that rival Ladurée and a patisserie full of sweet masterpieces including a Raspberry Delice, a Passion Fruit Mango Dome and Coffee Mascarpone amongst others. You have to see them to understand the skilled craftsmanship. Walk past the electric blue lit restaurant on an evening in Soho and you will be magnetized to the delights on display in the window.
I was with my guests – Oxford’s most well connected Concierge and one of the country’s leading PR agents – fingers crossed the qualified chefs had their ‘A’ game on! The restaurant boasts two bars, one upstairs and one downstairs with an extensive and creative list of cocktails. The wine and champagne list is equally as impressive, it has been carefully prepared to compliment the Chinese cuisine.
As you would expect from a restaurant specializing in dim sum, the menu options are huge. We took the easy option and left it up to the waitress to choose for us. We were presented with rows of Prawn and Beancurd Cheung Fun, Pan Fried Turnip Cakes and Beef Shui Mai – all so delicately presented, incredibly fresh and filling the room with aromas, none more so than the Wagyu beef puffs. The “caviar of meat” packed inside a crisp pastry puff – an explosion of flavour and for me the highlight dish.
The food here can’t be faulted and they don’t do so badly on the ambience either. The main room as you walk into the restaurant is described as the contemporary tea-room. I am not so keen on the layout of this dining room. It lacks a certain “WOW” factor, that the exterior suggests, the fish tank looks a little too bare and the tinted blue lighting does not excite me. Hidden downstairs however, is a completely different environment. As soon as you enter from the staircase, you are transported to a type of superclub, black with a starry ceiling of bright specks, cherry blossoms dotted around the room and a signature blue fish tank. This is the room to be in to have the full experience of their vision. There is also a sectioned off bar on the ground floor which, too has a unique feel, ideal for those wanting a table reserved out the way for a romantic evening.
Finally, you will not be disappointed if you want to indulge in the Chinese tradition of eating dim sum with tea, as the restaurant offers over 40 options of Chinese tea and an expert Bar Manager in Eder Neto, to explain the different kinds. Yauatcha puts a unique perspective on the dim sum experience in London and definitely establishes itself as one of the best fine dining Chinese restaurants in town.
Depending on how much dim sum you would like, be prepared to pay between £4.40 – £12.80 per dish; wine starting from £29 per bottle; sake from £11.50 per carafe and tea from £3.80 per pot.
Address: 15-17 Broadwick St, London W1F 0DL / 020 7494 8888
With over 13 years experience in the Luxury Lifestyle and Concierge industry, Ben Lake, CTA is one of the most well connected individuals in London. For more information visit www.benlake.london