Sugandha Rawal visit Yauatcha in Delhi as part of her Foodie Trail
Yauatcha describes itself as a modern interpretation of an authentic Chinese teahouse – yes, there is innovation, there is fusion but also a tad of confusion. The restaurant aims to unfold a gastronomical story by presenting authentic Cantonese dishes with a modern twist. There’s an array of sumptuous dim sums and steaming teas – but leave room for improvement in the main course section.
Yauatcha, the original in London is Michelin-starred, is snuggled inside the busy and popular Ambience Mall in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj.
Okay, so just the mention of ‘authentic Chinese teahouse’ brings images of bright hues splashed against an oriental decor with teapots and woks. But Yauatcha presents a very different image.
At a time when restaurants are in a quest to outdo their competition with focus on décor from quirky to wacky to stylish, Yauatcha’s ambiance is kept simple and minimalistic but intimate.
Everything is washed in a kind of blue glass and beige with a tropical fish tank decor. The embroidered Chinese motifs on the leather chairs remind you of the roots of the restaurant.
As one walks through the reception, one discovers the expanse of the restaurant featuring an open kitchen where chefs are at work, the main dining area and a dramatic bar perched in the centre of the restaurant.
Finding our way to our table, one could spot different age-groups unwinding after a busy day – there was a family, a couple, some youngsters and some business associates. Then there was a cricket angle to the story of Yauatcha with a large screen showing an IPL match.
Let’s talk about food now. As per the restaurant’s policy one can order three types of dim sums, and the waiter will walk you through the menu with ease while suggesting what to pick and what not to. Each and every waiter is trained (or it would be best to call him a food expert) so that they can help the customers.
When it comes to food, it is a perfect haven for vegetarians.
“The only customisation we have done so far (for India) is including more vegetarian options than our international counterparts,” Yauatcha head chef Wang Yixuan told IANS.
Along with Delhi, the restaurant also has branches in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata.
As a policy (which I personally found absurd), I could just order one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian dim sum, which was a blow to my foodie spirit as the place is known for some exquisite dim sums.
Anyway, I gave the go ahead for a spinach roll with prawn and water chestnut and fried turnip cake with vegetables as the vegetarian option.
Spinach and turnips are two vegetables one tries to steer away from, but when at Yauatcha, dig into the wrapped delicacies with no fear.
The dim sums were the clear winner with melt-in-the-mouth quality – each bite echoing perfection. With a crunchy outer crust, the turnip cake was soft from inside.
It was time to try out soups. You can have vegetable hot and sour soup or try hot and sour soup with shredded chicken. They are easy on your stomach but fare average on the taste meter.
When it comes to the main course section, there is an extensive menu to choose from. If you are a vegetarian, a meat-lover or crazy for sea-food, there is something in store for all.
Try crispy prawn cheung fun, stir fry udon noodles in black pepper sauce, schezuan mabo tofu, or crispy duck roll.
However, the few dishes that failed to make a mark were stir-fry French beans with shiitake mushroom, and kung pao chicken, which leave behind a pungent taste in your mouth due to the fried garlic.
Egg fried rice is another dish I would recommend. Low on spices, the taste of egg is very prominent. A word of caution: It takes time to develop a taste for the dish – say two to three spoons.
End the foodie affair on a sweet note through macrons, ice cream or sorbets.
Feeling guilty with all the fried food? Sip jasmine tea for some redemption.
All in all, while the dim sums and teas are the USP of the restaurant, it seems like the soul is missing from the main course. It is a must visit place for dim sums, but can be skipped if planning dinner.
Yauatcha New Delhi, Level 2, Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj New Delhi
Meal starting from Rs. 888 plus taxes per person (without alcohol)
Timings: 12 noon – 12 a.m.