Established and celebrated Chinese in Soho
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Chinese
Address : 15-17 Broadwick Street , Soho, London, W1F 0DL, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.yauatcha.com/soho
Opening Times : Mon-Sat 12am-11.30pm; Sun 12am-10.30pm
Closest Tube : Piccadilly Circus
Yauatcha has been a diamond in the Soho rough for well over a decade now. When the area was known solely for its sleaze and tourists, Alan Yau and the Hakkasan Group decided that Broadwick Street was a perfect site for a patisserie-cum-dim sum bar-cum-night lounge, and since them its become internationally renowned for its food and ambience. Chefs from around the world tout its brilliance, often showing up to enjoy an array of deliquescent dumplings in the late evening, when everything else except the nearby nightclubs have closed their doors for business. It‘s even a movie star of sorts, making an appearance in Danny Boyle‘s 2013 film Trance.
What can be said of Yauatcha that hasn‘t been already? Its venison puffs, prawn and beancurd cheung fung and jasmine tea smoked ribs have all been lavished with the same amount of praise that a newly crowned Academy Award winner have received. Its dark and desultory downstairs area has received love letters from all sectors of the media, eating up blogger bandwidth and broadsheet ink voraciously (and, as mentioned, making an appearance on the silver screen). The ground floor area, though lacking in the moody ambience of the basement, is an equally enjoyable place to eat, with natural light filtering in through the windows and a setting that brings to mind the cafes of Hong Kong and Singapore. The patisserie display running along the northern edge has attracted a fanfare in its own right, and is often a popular stop-off for strollers in search of coffee and a macaron.
However, one of the great things about seminal restaurants like Yauatcha is that you do manage to uncover new experiences during every visit. After ordering ourselves a crisp bottle of Gruner Veltliner, we began to order a miscellany of small bites. Of our favourites, the fried chilli squid with oatmeal and curry leaf really stood out, its batter as crisp as hoarfrost, cut through with the savoury flavour of the curry leaf. A crispy duck roll was fried to perfection, the roast duck inside rich and a bit saline. Steamed scallop shu mai was a beautiful example of dim sum, crowned with a jewel like assemblage of day-glo caviar, it looked as if it could have appeared in a display case in Harrods.
A Singaporean stir-dry vermicelli was another hidden pleasure that we were happy to unearth. The crispy, delicately wrought noodles with lashed with a salty, sweet sauce and studded with tender prawn and squid that evinced the sensations of the sea. We tied things up with a raspberry delice, brought over from the patisserie. Like the shu mai, it was a work of craftsmanship that would rival any jeweller, its berry sweetness countervailed by Madirofolo chocolate. Yauatcha is one of those restaurants that, through dint of its uncompromising quality, has become part and parcel with its landscapes. The dim sum are little parcels of joy indeed.