Yauatcha has long been in our list of must-visit places. So when the time came to choose a venue for Husband’s birthday meal, it was only a couple of clicks away on an Open Table reservation. We chose the Soho branch as it’s quite central so convenient to get to and from and for its close proximity to some lovely bars and pubs around.
Once through the double doors, we were greeted by the maitre d’ who asked us to wait at the bar while our table was prepared.
Here’s something to note – their restaurant spatial planning is actually quite unique. Most restaurants will have their bar at the front as a statement section, while the more intimate dining space is usually reserved at the back. In Yauatcha, it’s the opposite. They have the patisserie section right in the front (divine), inviting you in with their cakes and macaroons, with the busy dining space in the middle and the bar right at the back. So you have to snake your way past the diners to get to the bar which is not entirely unpleasant, just slightly unexpected. But it gives you a good glimpse of what others are eating and how the dishes look!
We had a look around the fellow diners and the cocktails looked lethally good but being on budget for that night ( blame those pre-dinner drinks at Bob Bob Ricard) , we decided to skip the cocktails and go straight to the main event – food.
Our table turned out to be located downstairs, which made us realise just how large the restaurant really was. Then again, in a rather busy and compact Soho full of new and upcoming eating establishments, the only way to expand is I guess to go either up or down or both.
The upstairs restaurant seemed popular with business and all day diners while downstairs was far more intimate. There were tables configured for small gatherings of friends or families, but predominantly it looked like a couple haven. We think this is exclusively date central as a lot of diners around us seemed like they were on their first or special date. So were we, in fact:)
The first thing that strikes you as you make your way into the restaurant space downstairs is the bar. The entire length of the bar has an aquarium frontage, which I think is a clever way to draw your attention to the bar and the drinks. A clever trick! Not that the drinks require special attention, as some very attractive cocktails were being dispatched from the bar as we closely perused the menu.
For the starter, we decided to go for a selection of dim sums, washed down with some Kirin Ichiban .
Our dim sum selection included the char sui bun, Chinese chives and prawns dumpling and beef shui mai. Every item on that menu looked delicious so we had a tough task at hand to filter down to just three – so we decide to just stick to the classics.
For our mains, I chose the Kung Pao chicken while Husband went for the stir-fry rib eye beef in black bean sauce. The accompaniment to all that lovely meat and poultry was some egg-white fried rice with dried scallop and asparagus. While the mains were delectable, I think Husband’s beef trumped my chicken. But we both agreed that the rice was the overall winner on the table . I could eat a bowlful of that sticky carbilicious glutinous gorgeousness on my own anytime – absolute heaven! Unfortunately there are no pictures available, as we dived straight in so forgot to take pictures- oops!
Overall, I was pleased with Yauatcha but not totally blown over. Their interiors were impressive and the atmosphere had a nice buzz. However, on hindsight, we probably played a bit safe with our dish choices. So next time perhaps we will go for more of their popular items. Food was good and service was fine. The ratio of waiter to table felt like 5:1. Still, at no point did we feel they were being overwhelming… just a tad too many! I think for the quality of food, the prices are slightly expensive so definitely this would be more for an occasion dining destination than casual.
I like to think I would return to Yauatcha, but perhaps will try a different branch (City?) or to try some of their eye catching cocktails, their har gau or simply just to sample some of their petit gateaux, chocolates and their season inspired macaroons over a cup of tea.