Yauatcha, Bandra East, Mumbai

Can you make a dinner of dim sum? That was the thought that was at the top of our minds when we visited Yauatcha. This 18-month old establishment that likes to call itself a ‘Dim Sum Tea House’ has managed to amass a growing number of loyal clientele, but we were unconvinced that dim sum could qualify for dinner, given the hearty appetites we bring to any table.

Yauatcha is split into two levels. The entrance at the lower level has display shelves of pastries, petit fours, gateaux, etc with a wall of Chinese urns standing guard behind. As a policy, Yauatcha discourages guests from taking away food served at its establishment, because it believes that the taste and quality of the food might change and it refuses to take responsibility for the same. But desserts are a different matter – you can pack it and take it home and even get cakes made to order.

The upper level of the restaurant has three sections. You walk into the long bar with a huge collection of liquor bottles – the sheer number of which ends up in perplexing than impressing. The next section is the dining area with two private dining rooms at the extreme end of the 16,000 square feet restaurant, with their own private entrances.

Shredded Kataffi crab meat roll
Shredded Kataffi crab meat roll

We began our dinner with some cocktails and a mocktail, creations from Yauatcha’s in-house recipes, recommended by Sajan, the GM at Yauatcha. We chose the confusingly named Cilantro (650) – confusing because this Tequila-based drink with fresh herbs like lemon grass had only the tiniest hint of cilantro and a barely-there hint of tequila; probably lost under the mound of ice cubes. The Hakka Yauatcha (750) was another matter altogether. This creamy vodka-based cocktail made from passion fruit, lychee juice and coconut cream was smooth and a perfect summer drink. The Kiwi and Lime (350) ice tea made with the mentioned fruits and jasmine green tea was refreshing but did nothing to blow my socks off.

The dim sum list is fairly exhaustive with over 50 different types and a well balanced mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Interestingly, Yauatcha has a separate vegetarian menu since it attracts a fair number of Gujarati and Jain diamond traders from the nearby diamond complex.

We decided to begin with the vegetarian options first. The Veg Crystal (275), were steamed transparent dumplings stuffed with Shiitake mushrooms, Black Fungus, yam bean and carrots with a sole dill leaf as garnish. Nice, but unworthy of any paeans. The Edamame (550); edamame bean paste and porcini mushroom stuffed creation with truffle oil and butter was rich and creamy. If you are a vegetarian, don’t miss the Veg Turnip Cake (350) – perfectly crispy on the outside, mellow inside with a garlicky flavour that complements the bland taste of the turnip.

Chicken Wrapped in Pak Choi leaves with Sichuan Sauce
Chicken Wrapped in Pak Choi leaves with Sichuan Sauce

We then trained our sights on the meaty dim sum and began with the Poached Peking Dumpling (400). No duck within as we assumed, but a mixture of chicken, prawn and Shiitake mushrooms. The dumpling was nice, but the Japanese sauce of Thai Chillies was stellar. I suggest gobbling the dumpling slathered with sauce, so the mild flavours of the dumpling mixes with the spiciness of the sauce. A word of caution though – avoid having the sauce by itself, it’ll set the roof of your mouth afire!

The Chicken Pok Choi (275) has steamed tender chicken with taro root wrapped in Pok Choi leaves and topped with Sichuan Pepper Sauce. Nice, but the sight of the Kataffi Crab Meat Roll (450) was even mor exciting – crab meat and buffalo milk cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry and rolled in thin strands of vermicelli – a messy dish to eat, but one that starts at crunchy and graduates to the moist and soft roll of crab meat.

At this point we received the reply to our original query – an assortment of dim sum does not a dinner make.

So we moved to the mains and asked for Steamed Salmon (650); over-cooked but salvaged by the black bean sauce. We also tried the Chicken Claypot (525), which had diced chicken cubes and vegetables that had been tossed in Sampai sauce, and some Egg Fried Rice. Standard fare with nothing alleviating about it. Perhaps the reason Yauatcha likes to position itself as it does? We think so.

We wrapped up our meal with the Raspberry Delice (350), a raspberry flavored chocolate mousse served with Raspberry Ripple ice Cream. The tartness of the raspberry was perfectly offset by the richness of the chocolate and more than the taste of this dish, the presentation was quite beautiful too. The Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse (350) served with Honeycomb ice cream was equally good, though a distant second to the Raspberry Delice.

Yauatcha embraces the concept of progressive dining – dishes arrive as diners are done with a course; an interesting concept for a night out with friends that we heartily recommend you try.