You might think applying E M Forester’s description of the world – “a glimmering, ethereal plasm” – to a bowl of soup is hyperbolic, but that’s only until you sample the hot and sour at newly opened Yauatcha in BKC. Almost identical to the version served at sister-restaurant Hakkasan, it is thick and shimmery, swimming with silky tofu and slivers of mushroom, spicy enough to clear the most stubborn sinuses. And for a few heady, fragrant minutes, it truly becomes your universe.
A Good Start
The rest of the dishes at Yauatcha aren’t as sublime, but they make for a good meal. We kicked ours off with pan fried Shanghai dumplings (also from Hakkasan – according to management, about 30% of the menu overlaps), flavourful in translucent, scorched skins and perfectly fried duck rolls filled with minced meat and slices of crunchy cucumber. Coat these with jammy plum sauce and you’ll have a perfect melding of sweet and savoury, crisp and soft. Stay away, though, from Chicken Char Sui Buns – they are gluey, oversweet and largely unpalatable.
Mains of spicy fried rice and double cooked pork belly with chilli sauce arrived in thick ceramic bowls along with steamed rawas in a dim sum basket, glistening under spicy black bean sauce and pretty enough to have the our entire group sit up. It tasted of sea and spice, fat and fresh in a shallow bath of sauce and whole chillies.
The above-mentioned pork belly was tender and flavourful, complemented by a sauce that balanced perfectly between sweet and tangy, but had no spice to speak of. This we poured over steaming yellow rice, which was indeed spicy, and studded with diced vegetables.
Over the Top
Up until now, we had behaved: we had ordered in proportion to our party, sampled an assortment of meats, stuck to one cocktail each – currently, they only have three available, of which Baron Vert, made with citrus vodka, vermouth, basil and grapefruit juice is the best. But our temperance was destroyed by dessert, felled by a medley of raspberry and chocolate, mandarin and mango.
After all, who can resist raspberry-chocolate mousse, served on a brownie base and moulded like a ripening rose, dark and citrusy and perfect? This came along with an unpleasantly gelatinous, lacklustre mandarin tart, followed by a surprise of bright macarons and sorbets on the house. We especially liked super-sour raspberry and Thai mango sorbets and lemon macarons that melted on our tongues. The latter come in Earl Grey and Macha flavours as well, which we plan to try on our next trip in.
Yauatcha is essentially Hakkasan lite – more casual and less expensive. This reflects in the decor as well, which reinvents the main elements of Hakkasan’s interiors: the underwater-invoking lighting of Hakkasan’s dining room, for instance, shows up at Yauatcha in the form of aquariums. The bar here is integrated into the main dining space, supplemented by a slick communal table. There are two open kitchens, and a take-away dessert counter on the ground floor. The signature blue lighting is present but subtler, diluted by cool yellow tubes that drip from the ceiling and a wall of wide windows that make Yauatcha a much more attractive lunch option than the gloomy Hakkasan.
Yauatcha is billed as “dim sum tea house” but it’s really a restaurant that you celebrate a good work Monday at, or visit on a promising second date. Remember to quote EM Forester during the soup course, order the raspberry-chocolate dessert, and you’ll be golden.
Getting there: Raheja Tower, Bandra Kurla Complex, call 26448888 , Rs 2,000 per person with one cocktail.
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