Yauatcha is a Chinese dim sum teahouse with two restaurants in London, in the heart of Soho and in the City, offering an all-day grazing experience. Launched in Soho in 2004, Yauatcha gained immediate critical acclaim and received its Michelin star within a year of opening which it continues to maintain. Yauatcha City opened in May 2015 following the success of the Soho restaurant.
Yauatcha provides a unique dining experience, offering authentic dim sum with a contemporary influence. The renowned menu includes a wide selection of dim sum and a list of over 24 types of tea. This February, Yauatcha celebrates Chinese New Year in style with the commissioning of two leading London artists – Lydia Kasumi Shireff and Jamie Julien Brown – to create innovative Chinese lantern art installations for its restaurants from London to Mumbai, Houston to Waikiki. This truly global celebration also includes a special menu featuring the contemporary Cantonese dim sum for which the restaurant is renowned.
With the Year of the Earth Dog starting on Friday 16th February 2018, the stunning artworks are on display in the restaurants throughout the month of February. Each artist is interpreting and celebrating the Chinese paper lantern – an iconic emblem of Chinese New Year – in a modern way with designs that tell a visual story. This campaign has evolved from Yauatcha’s annual red lantern Chinese New Year decorations, a tradition which began at the Michelin-starred Soho restaurant five years ago.
For the month of February, both Yauatcha London locations are serving a celebratory Chinese New Year menu with dishes inspired by the annual celebration and featuring ingredients which are traditionally believed to bring good fortune. The menu offers two dim sum dishes; salted egg yolk custard sesame ball (representing togetherness) and Chilean sea bass roll (symbolising financial prosperity). Main dishes include golden fortune prawn in lime sauce (for seafood has connotations of good luck) and braised pork shank with lotus seed and mushroom.
We began with a variety of dim sum starting with a dish from Yauatcha’s stunning Chinese New Year menu. The Chilean Seabass Roll was a great way to start the meal. The fish has large flakes with a nice buttery taste which paired perfectly with the asparagus.
We also ordered some dim sum from the a la carte menu. These included the Roasted Duck Pumpkin Puff with pine nut. The outer batter of the ball gave way to a wonderfully soft and flavoursome centre. The pine nut texture worked well with the helping of tender duck that lay beneath.
The King Crab Dumpling was a delightful surprise – the meatiness of the crab paired well with the accompanying herbs that brought out the freshness of the dish.
We then tried the Lobster Dumpling with Tobiko caviar with ginger and shallot. These dumplings are an absolute delight. The fresh and generous portion of Lobster coupled with the explosion of flavour from the Tobiko caviar make this dish a serious contender on the must-try list when you visit.
The Foie Gras Taro Croquette was recommended by our host and this highlighted to us how good the service is at Yauatcha, and the way you can trust the team to make the experience first class. From the outside this fried ball looks unremarkable but the flavours that lie beneath make this dish a gem. Once you bite into the light batter you will be treated to a rich burst of mouthwatering flavour. This dish is a must for foie gras lovers.
The beautiful selection of food was accompanied by Yauatcha’s impressive cocktails. We chose the Earth Asian which consisted of Mount Gay black barrel rum with apricot jam, lychee, lime, jasmine and black walnut bitters.
The Spicy Soft Shell Crab with almonds is another top dish. The flavours of the soft shell crab go well with the crunchy texture of the almonds and the chilli hit tantalising the taste buds.
The Fried Chilli Squid is an interesting dish that works really well. The oatmeal and pandan leaf is a combination I haven’t come across before but every bite left me yearning for more.
We also indulged in some non alcoholic cocktails. I had a passion fruit tea and my dining companion had a mango and chilli cocktail.
We then decided as it was Chinese New Year to go for the Steam Scallop in black bean sauce with glass noodle. The scallops represent fertility and the noodles represent longevity. It was interesting to note the delicate plates that the food is served are Chinese in origin adding to the authenticity of the restaurant.
The Stir-fry Penang Kwetio Noodle with prawn, scallop and peanut spoke for itself and had a lime citrus finish which added a different dimension to the dish.
The Golden Fortune Prawn in lime sauce was another dish from the Chinese New Year menu. Each prawn has a special taste and the caviar and lime sauce are a moreish winner. Should you try this dish you will be very fortunate indeed!
Yauatcha has a stunning dessert menu that tempts anyone with a sweet tooth. Every dish is made with the same detail and enthusiasm of the main menu. We chose a Salted Caramel Delice with crunchy peanut feuilletine, banana and lime with caramel mousse to share.
In a nod to the art, guests can enjoy the Haoyun Lantern petit gâteau dessert with soy caramel and mandarin (eating citrus is believed to bring luck whilst ‘haoyun’ translates as ‘lucky’). A number of limited edition macarons will also be available, in flavours including vanilla orchid, a lucky flower for 2018, and raspberry Szechuan, vibrant red in colour to reflect Chinese New Year celebrations.
Even once Chinese New Year is over after the usual 14 days of festivities, I would have to say that all the menus at Yauatcha are inspired and the quality of the ingredients and service is second to none. I would highly recommend a visit to catch up with friends or take a loved one out on a special night.
1 Broadgate Circus, London EC2M 2QS