One great thing about London is that even though I'm half the world away, I can get great home food right here whenever I want! And what better home food can there be but a nice weekend lunch with some nice dim sum? I've been to a few places recently that I'm going to write about, starting off with the Soho powerhouse Yauatcha.
Yauatcha is part of the Hakkasan group, so just like Sake no Hana (which I really enjoyed!), I had pretty high expectations for it! Unlike most of the traditional dim sum restaurants in Chinatown just a stone's throw away, Yauatcha is more upmarket and modern in line with the usual Hakkasan standards. However, I have to note that the service on the day was patchy at best, unlike the very high standards I've seen at Sake no Hana.
On to the food! Yauatcha's menu is very extensive, much like the typical dim sum restaurants back at home, and features a great mix of both traditional and novel dishes. For example, this prawn and beancurd cheung fun is one of the more untraditional dishes, mixing the textures of the soft cheung fun skin, the crispy beancurd sheets and the springy prawn paste filling. I loved this!
Another 'reinterpreted' dish was the venison puffs, as opposed to the usual roast pork puffs. I enjoyed the combinations of flavours, with the glazing on the puff slightly sweet to offset the stronger venison filling. However, I thought that the puff itself was a little overdone and was a bit dry. Nevertheless, I would probably order this again next time!
Another novel dish that I loved was the duck and pumpkin puff, which had a light crispy shell filled with a filling that balanced the savoury, meaty duck with a slightly sweet pumpkin puree.
We also had a series of more traditional dim sums, including turnip cake, roast pork bun and prawn dumplings - the staples in relieving home sickness! All of the traditional dim sums were unvaryingly up to scratch with home standards.
Others I didn't manage to get a photo of include siu mai (my absolute must have at dim sum restaurants - Yauatcha boasts a total of 5 different types!) and their wild mushroom dumpling (you can catch a glimpse of it in the duck and pumpkin puff photo, it's the green thing being eaten in the background).
As a whole I thought the standard of the food was great. As I mentioned, the prices were reasonable and in line with typical dim sum prices but the creativity and standard of the food was definitely above and beyond the regular Chinatown establishment in my eyes!
Price: £ £ £ out of 5
You can find the Yauatcha home page here.