Saturday, 29 January 2011

[Restaurant - Chinese] Gimme [Dim]Sum Mo'; Yauatcha of Soho

Location - Soho, London [UK]
Disclaimer for my hypocrisy - I am generally the type to lambaste stereotypes and their short-minded authors, as, you know, I write a blog, therefore my opinion matters, if only to me. However, I would be a filthy, dirty whore/liar if I had said I was not somewhat unimpressed with the notion of a Dim-sum -based Lunch. How can you have a meal based on Starters!? Mind you, I was not in the freshness of mind to care, and there was still enough residual alcohol in me to power a small power station. So, doubts not so much cast aside, rather walking hand in hand with me into the restaurant. I'll say it now. I am standing. And I have been very much corrected.

~ Main Course ~
- Vietnamese Wrap [Steamed]

Bah, Dumplings. Who's going to make a meal out of dumplings. Ok, I already made my pre-conceived notion clear in the introduction, no need for it again. I did not have any particular strategy for the choice of dumplings, other than to choose a set of 3 largely different ones just to get a variety, so to start, the Vietnamese wrap ones. With fungus. Different? Tick!

And these were quite nice - rather than just tasting of minced meat like most standardised Dimsums, there were some interesting flavours coming through. I cannot quite recall them, as a mouth tasting largely of ass and cigars from the previous night saw to that, but a very nice and fragrant Dimsum. Not my favourite, but quite nice. Nicely perked up with some Chilli oil too. The fungus on the side disappointed me for not tasting as disgusting as it sounds. It was rather nice. :(

- Three Style Mushroom Cheung Fung

Whilst being the last of the 3 dishes to arrive, this is the one that quite literally pumelled my face for my previous insulting of a Dimsum's eligibility as a meal. It was basically a slab of Dimsumness, sliced up into slightly more manageable striations. Whilst not a fan of the soy sauce, as, well, mushroom tends to soak up such saltiness readily, I was pleasantly surprised with the mushroom filling. Whilst there's only so much excitement that can be reserved for. Well. Mushroom stuffed dumplings, what was surprising was the actual flavour of mushroom permeating through.

I do seem to be harbouring some sort of passive aggressiveness for dumplings. I cannot help it! These were a struggle to finish though through their sheer volume, not particularly interesting, but very moorish.

- Duck & Pumpkin Puff

I. Heart. These. Not only were they too cute to eat [*Still looking for my Manhood*], but they tasted cute as well. Wait. That makes no sense. They looked and taste wins. Whilst fried food is perhaps the least of things you want when your head feels likes it been through too many wall/skull interactions, the "puff" was quite light, and nicely crunchy. The filling though, was. Z0mg. Delectable. Smokey duck combined with some sweet pumpkin and I don't care what else, it just melded into a lovely mush and I needed more.

~ Dessert ~
- Fig & Chestnut Clafoutis

Whilst a nice dessert, this was probably the main disappointment for perhaps providing more style than outright substance - I need a trough load, like the Cheung Fung - and shattering my expectations. For this clafoutis looked nothing like those pictures of batter-pie wins on Google. And was nowhere as big. I saved space through the Dimsums for this :(.

Considering that I was led to believe a clafoutis was a batter-based pie with fruit, the provided dessert seemed slightly at odds with that notion. Too much fruit, not enough bad stuff. Bah to you. The fig didn't seem ripe enough, tasting a bit sharp in places, the Chestnut mousse didn't really taste of anything, and the base of the Clafoutis just seemed to be a generic pastry. No batter. At all! Why no tempura-fusion batter pie?! Meh. It doesn't mean it was not a pleasant dessert, just that it perhaps didn't compute with my preconceived notions. Though as I make plenty clear, I really have nary a clue.

The almond ice-cream on the side was very light, almost a sorbet in flavour and texture. It worked well with the Clafoutis, if only to give a highlight. I will say this now, unless it contains hair or is truly disgusting, I find it hard to criticise a dessert, so this will remain a still enjoyed dessert, but it was perhaps a bit too subtle in taste, or rather, at odds to the description. At least the fig would help me digest the metric ton of Cheung Fung.

~ Drinks ~
- Lychee Juice

Was I expecting freshly squeezed Lychee' juice? No. Did I get it? No. However, it wasn't terrible - I would think it was probably from a concentrate, but it was at least only moderately sweet, and not the liquid diabetes you get from the likes of Rubicon et al. I cannot believe the sheer numbers of cans I used to consume of that stuff, for I literally have limbs fall off whenever I drink Rubicon now. Srsly!

Ok, not seriously. And losing focus here. It wasn't a bad juice, though I would guess expecting fresh lychee' juice, in the UK, in Winter is perhaps a bit surrealist. But I'm special, and I want special juice :(.


So, having been facepwnt by my silly stereotypes and preconceived hate for Dimsums, I can say I'm pleasantly surprised to have been so re-educated. Portions and pricing were surprising for an obviously Trendy-aimed Soho restaurant, well, other than the dessert, which was disproportionate to expectations. Service was good, despite how busy the place was, and the setting was comforting. Despite being packed, and slightly chaotic, and obviously trying hard to aim at a certain image conscious crowd, it was all at once also very serene and a welcoming place.

That the Dimsums surprised on so many levels was merely an additional plus point - yes, they can make a meal. Quite so much so. And Yauatcha has about 3billion varieties, so you will never get bored. Which I aim on trying. And whilst the final bill of around £40 each isn't particularly cheap, compared to the offensive taunting of our taste buds at another Soho eatery, this place has left a pleasing palm shaped stamp on my face. From where I was face palmed. For being so wrong.

Being wrong is quite nice. I look forward to my frequent wrongs ^_^


[Yup, sold myself again]

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