Yauatcha, Broadwick St
Tucked away in the heart of Soho lies London's second Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant. Formerly part of Alan Yau's empire, Yauatcha takes dim sum to a chic new level. Luxe ingredients like caviar, scallops and even gold leaf add some bling to the traditional Cantonese "little pieces of heart".
The decor is sleek and sexy, with low tables lit by candles, fish tanks and plenty of blue glass. It's not a typical fine dining restaurant, in fact it feels more like a glamorous cocktail bar.
We start by ordering some cocktails from our elegant waitress. I am not in the least bit elegant, so I can't resist the kitsch Lady Penelope, a startlingly alcoholic pink concoction. It slips down nicely, as fruity cocktails tend to do. I order another.
After reading reviews I am expecting the worst, but service is good. Not great, but good. Our waitress knows the menu, and although her politeness errs on the cool side, she is pleasant, courteous and, of course, perfectly turned out.
The dim sum at Yauatcha are things of beauty. They taste great too, and the dumpling casings are some the lightest and least obtrusive I have tasted. Highlights are the scallop shumai, decorated with pearls of roe, the crisp Mongolian lamb in flaky pastry and the Salt & Pepper Quail, crispy and delicious.
Scallop dim sum
Mongolian crispy lamb
Salt & pepper quail
Pre-dessert, I try one of Yauatcha's much vaunted teas. There is a dizzying array, but once I have eventually chosen I find it is a disappointment. Green tea always tastes a bit like water that you've boiled the vegetables in, and this is no exception. My advice would be to stick with the cocktails.
Cola & lemon tart
I usually skip dessert when I'm eating in Chinese restaurants. Not here though. Yauatcha has a French style patisserie counter where you can choose from an array of delicate delights. In fact, when we arrive for our early dinner there are still several groups taking afternoon tea, and feasting on tiers of elegant French pastries. I sample a citron & cola cube tart, which was equal parts sour and sweet, traditional and modern. Just like Yauatcha itself.
15-17 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DL