Yauatcha, founded by Alan Yau in 2004, is a well established dim sum restaurant in London. It is part of Hakkasan group which was acquired by Abu Dhabi investment company Tasameem in 2008. The group almost holds a monopoly of Michelin stars for Chinese restaurants in the city (Yauatcha, Hakkasan Hanway Place and Hakkasan Mayfair) with the exception of Kai. Yauatcha is different from many restaurants in Chinatown in that it offers dim-sum in the evening as well (dim-sum is traditionally eaten in the morning/early afternoon in Hong Kong) which is quite nice.
The extensive menu is dim-sum heavy with classics mixed with more contemporary versions developed in-house. As for drinks this place is more about cocktails than wine which can be noticed by the rather elaborate cocktail list sorted after taste characteristics.
Yauatcha is usually my go-to place for dim sum in London along with Princess Garden in Mayfair. Compared to Princess Garden Yauatcha is more styled in all aspects, from food to staff uniforms. Coming here on a weekend evening means full house and a 2 hour table turnover. The crowd is relatively young for a 1 Michelin star restaurant. This was a Saturday late afternoon so we had our time at the table.
The Venison Puffs is one of the big sellers on the menu. It’s basically venison meat wrapped in puff pastry. The thick sauce inside is slightly sweet with an accent of black pepper. It’s quite heavy and more filling that it might look.
In the front is Prawn and Scallop Shumai which is another popular dish at Yauatcha. It has a nice texture of minced prawn and has a light flavour profile. Behind is Har Gau which also contain prawns mixed with some bamboo shoots for added crunch. The wrapping skin is thin and half-translucent like how it should be. To the left is King Crab Shanghai Siew Long Buns. It’s always tricky to eat these since they contain hot soup inside together with the pork filling but they are amazing and one of my favourites. The last one in the back is Prawn, Cuttlefish and Zucchini dumplings. They were alright but not the favourite in this meal.
Beancurd Cheung Fun is a dish about textures. The firm filling of minced prawns is wrapped with crispy beancurd skin which in turn is wrapped with silky smooth rice vermicelli skin.
The Jasmine Tea Smoked Ribs is one of my favourites on the menu. The meat is very tender and juicy. Not much effort is required to peel it off the bones. The Jasmine Tea is a nice addition to the sweetness although it’s barely detectable. The plate was finished fairly quickly. The only hint left of the ribs were the messy fingers. Bowls with lemon water were provided to each person for cleaning up the hands.
I miss this dish from my time in Singapore. Although a side to side comparison is not possible this one is not bad. The only thing is that I would like more of the noodles and less of the bean sprout. After all it’s stir-fried kweitio and not stir-fried bean sprouts.
For the first-time visitor the range of western cakes on the dessert menu is a surprise. Not only is the selection big but the cakes are pretty. To the upper-left is Mango Mousse, upper-right is Salted Caramel and in the bottom is Raspberry Delice. I didn’t like the Mango Mousse. The Salted Caramel was nice but my favourite was the Raspberry Delice. I would say that the cakes are more about looks than taste.
As usual I had a good experience at Yauatcha. The service is consistent as is the food. Staff are helpful and table maintenance is done well. There is one thing however that I think can improved. The baskets were not stacked and as a result the food became cold a lot quicker since everything is served at once. I understand that it looks nicer with everything visible and not stacked on the table but for practical purposes it’s not that great. This is a very visual place. The interior is sleek and modern. Tableware, interior and staff uniforms are well thought out. In fact Hakkasan group has an internal design team keeping the theme of each restaurant consistent. This is a place to come for solid dim sum and a feel of chicness. Yautacha also sells macarons (which I haven’t tried for a long time). I’ll leave the evaluation of that for the next time!
For more photos from Yauatcha, please visit my Flickr set.
15-17 Broadwick Street
London, W1F 0DL
Tel. +44 (0) 20 7494 8888