That I should love dimsum seems expected, given my borderline obsession for pretty gift wrapped things.
It is just the whole element of surprise in knowing there’s something hidden inside the relatively plain exterior, that has my curiosity piqued. And this childlike excitement is unchanged when I’m presented with a plate of translucent steaming hot dimsum. Seeing those slightly steaming, perfectly formed beauties usually has me raring to pick up a piece and subject my tastebuds to what I hope is a flavour bomb concealed within- no matter how stuffed I may be.
Its just been a pity that my experiences with dimsum in Mumbai thus far have been less than stellar.
But then Yauatcha came along.
Part of the famed Hakkasan group, this joint’s Michelin starred sibling in London has added an element of oomph to the otherwise humble practice of Yum Cha, or having lunch at teahouses all over China. With a wide range of near authentic dimsum and tea options, as well as an exemplary dessert menu, Yauatcha has gone on to carve a real niche in Modern Chinese dining world over. And it comes as no surprise that the large number of Indian diners at their London outlet had them convinced to open shop in India soon after.
The Mumbai outpost is breezy and open, the interiors understated and noticeably modern. A tiny area below with an impressive array of desserts and a reception leads you up a flight of stairs to the actual dining area. A bar larger than life, flanked by dark tables and comfy yet simplistic chairs forms the bulk of their decor, and the floor length windows bathe the place in warm, cheery sunshine if you visit them in the afternoons.
Yauatcha’s dimsum and dessert is what receives the most praise from its patrons and so, we chose to stick to those and give the mains a miss during our meal there.
This is what we ordered:
Crispy Prawn Cheung Fun
One of their most well known dishes, you have batter fried prawn covered in a slightly glutinous steamed rice roll. The soft, almost giving texture of the roll with the surprisingly crisp, fresh and perfectly cooked prawn makes for a great combination. And the mild sweet-savoury dipping sauce drizzled atop with the bits of mushroom nestled in the roll serve to further bump up the flavour. As easy as it seemed to finish platefuls of these in one sitting we chose to exercise restraint and sample some of their other offerings instead of a repeat order.
Fried Turnip Cakes
I’m not generally a fan of turnip but I would be more than content relishing these on the daily. You have a slightly crunchy exterior, filled with buttery soft turnip, and what we loved in particular was the generous topping of fried, stick-to-your-teeth-good garlic, spicy chilli oil and fresh bits of scallion. It is the perfect interplay of textures to complement the turnip and we scarfed it down with no complaint.
Scallop Shui Mai
I can’t see scallop on a menu like this and not order it. I did have my reservations, as minced scallop in a dumpling would be sacrilege, but I am so glad I was proven wrong. The gossamer thin skin gives way to plump chunks of scallop, soft but with a slight bite. One mouthful, and the palate is ensconced in what seems like seafood lover’s heaven, with the tender and tasteful scallop interrupted by tiny bursts of salty masago. This is the kind of food you want to close your eyes and savour; the kind you want to never have to finish. Without a doubt the best dish of our meal.
Charcoal Lamb Buns
The bun itself is the perfect thickness, with a mild sweetness when bitten into. And the filling inside is a hearty, peppery lamb curry. It was a good dish, and I would have downed it happily anywhere else, but when compared the previous dishes, this one fell slightly behind, in want of meatier bits of lamb and a slightly less gelatinous base.
I have read countless accounts of this little marvel on Zomato, and I can confirm all the praise isn’t baseless. The mousse is frothy and light, with a lingering Raspberry tang, and its filled with little treats like choco-malt roundels (think mini Maltesars) and bits of acidic lychee jelly. The ice cream served alongside is refreshing lychee in every spoonful and the raspberry reduction packs a sour punch to cut any lingering sweetness. Faultless in its execution, and bags of flavour in every bite.
Milk Chocolate, Honey and Jasmine cake
While a decent effort, this one fell flat when compared to the delice. The milk chocolate mousse is again done beautifully, pairing well with the more bitter base and the tuille was a buttery, sugary wonder baked to a crisp. But the jasmine was too mild to serve much purpose and the honey ice cream seemed fairly run-of-the-mill and not very standout either.
If on the lookout for a great spot for some good dimsum, Yauatcha delivers and exceedingly well. Their little twists on authentic Chinese dimsum don’t take away from the flavour profile, but add a much needed element of surprise to the modern diner.
With the Holy Trinity of restaurant dining well above par- namely their ambience, service and food, there is hardly much to criticise, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself there again, if only for a bite of that lovely prawn cheung fun and sublime scallop shui mai.