A 'tea house' reminds of a quaint hut where patrons sit cross-legged on the floor to sip on the earthly brew. Yauatcha completely reverses that image as it presents a modern, palatial look, but serves the same tea and dim sums which have always garnered wonderment and applause
By: Karishma Suri
Posted on: July 6, 2012
A ‘tea house’ reminds of a quaint hut where patrons sit cross-legged on the floor to sip on the earthly brew. Yauatcha completely reverses that image as it presents a modern, splendid palatial look, but serves the same tea and dim sums which have always garnered wonderment and applause.
Playing second string to Hakkasan’s remarkable Chinese food is the not so little black building in the heart of Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex that houses dim sum specialist Yauatcha. Quite a popular dim sum tea house serving modern Cantonese cuisine, the name Yauatcha has no literal meaning, “but it is made up of three words - Yau is the surname of founder, i.e Alan Yau, and Cha means tea,” says Mr Jeetesh Kaprani, Vice President – Operations, KA Hospitality Pvt Ltd. Modern authenticity is at the root of Yauatcha’s design, cuisine and service. With a cuisine inspired by history and acknowledging the traditions of the past, one can only expect, well, the best. Success is a matter of perception, and Yauatcha dedicates its strength to the pursuit of modernizing the dishes, without compromising on quality and authenticity. The true test? The big T - namely time.
Aiming at authenticity in a modern setting, the chefs have taken recipes from all over China and infused them with a modern sensibility. The result? Authentic Cantonese cooking with a contemporary flair. Yauatcha’s dominant menu offering throughout the day is dim sum, but there are a number of wok items too, which serve as complementary dishes to the dim sum menu. If your stomach still has the place, feel free to pick from stir-fry noodles, Chinese vegetables, and stir-fry ‘small eats’.
Besides this, I advocate tough control over your urges because the retail counter at the entrance houses delectable macaroons (hands down best in the city!) and chocolates, all of which are produced in Yauatcha’s kitchens. A ceiling high tea ladder allows you to gather your selected loose leaf tea from specially designed tea caddies. With great difficulty and appreciation of the hostess, steer towards the flight of stairs that will lead you to the main restaurant. Déjà vu will start to creep in as you remember Hakkasan through the black and blue touches around Yauatcha. It embodies the fact that both the restaurants are part of one big happy family, geared up to feed our bellies, until they purr with joy. Almost impossible to miss, the imposing bar and wine cellar with its 64 varietals, will lead you into the 200-seat dining section, which is separated by large fish tanks.
Please be seated
Groovy music entertains as well as distracts you at times. The surrounding tables are less than an arm’s length away, so more often than not, your neighbours are part of your conversation if you don’t keep it down. The staff at Yauatcha is moody and will sway from being very attentive to leaving you waving your hands over your heads frantically at times. A quick fix to any meal is the Cha la lai which according to the manager is a Yauatcha classic. A perfect concoction of black grapes, oolong tea, fresh apple juice and sparkling wine, don’t be surprised if you are caught between winks and smiles. Another option is the Kumquatcha, a brew of Cachaca, kumquats, fresh orange juice, sparkling lime and splash of campari, which is scintillating and refreshing and a complete crowd pleaser. The drinks menu, which is a complete charmer literally, is something that not many restaurants can boast of, and yet Yauatcha pulls it off with a smile.
With meals that are wholesome and filling yet not too heavy, Yauatcha will manage to bring in the crowds even after almost a year has passed. Is there something as too many dim sums? I think not. With a separate menu for the vegetarians, the restaurant paves the way for newer and more authentic culinary delights in the city. If you plan to have a stretched dialogue with your companion as you wait for food, don’t count on it, as the service is speedy and you gulp it down even quicker!
Start off with the vegetarian Chive dumplings which give a burst of sweetness on the bite – a delight to any veggie lover. Quirky and compact, the pomegranates add a sense of finesse to the dumpling. Looking for something to melt in the mouth? Their popular Truffle Edamame dumplings literally burst on the palate and deliver a rich and fulfilling satisfaction to almost every sense. Mushroom lovers should definitely try the three-style Mushroom Cheung Fun which has a filling of shitake, shimeji and oyster mushroom, all of which are specially imported from Thailand. For non-vegetarians, Yauatcha offers their must have: Crispy Prawn Cheung Fun served with traditional sweet soy sauce. What you see is what you get as the perfectly textured smooth wrap is an absolute winner as it blends perfectly well with the crunchiness of the tempura prawn. Another must try is the Szechuan Chicken dumpling topped with Szechuan Chilli Sauce which entices the tastebuds to keep trying more.
If you are able to move forward from the dim sums, which is an absolute task, go ahead and try the Baby Pak Choi, which is also imported specially from Thailand. Another winner at almost any time during the meal is the Stir Fry Udon Noodle in black pepper sauce which will ensure your fork keeps rolling even though your insides are warning to burst. Salt lovers can add a little bit more to the noodles while the mock meat in the noodles will allow vegetarians to walk a mile as a carnivore.
Of course, no meal is complete without desserts. And after your eyes have feasted on these sweet nothings at the entrance, it would only be fair to feast your appetite too. A must have is Raspberry Delice which doubles up as a romantic rose to present to your beloved. It is actually an amalgamation of tangy Belgian Raspeberry and finest chocolate. It comes with perfect balance of soft mousse crunchy pearls and hazelnut brownie! If chocolate is your poison, then dig into the Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse which, even though eggless, promises the taste of sweet heaven in every bite.
Having received a Michelin star within its ﬁrst year of opening, Yauatcha is delighted to bring its expertise to India. With good reason that too. In terms of desserts and vegetarian options, Yauatcha is a winner all the way!
Coordinates: Yauatcha, Raheja Tower, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai