Disappointing reality behind the hype
Restaurant: Yauatcha
Reviewer: Aalok Wadhwa | 27th November 2014 | Reviewer Rating (Out of 5) 3.50

I have been hearing rave reviews about Yauatcha ever since it opened. Finally a Michelin star restaurant in Delhi, best Chinese food in Delhi, Restaurant of the year, etc. etc. And also reassuring news that it is not as expensive as its famous brother Hakkasan. So when a dear office colleague said he wanted to take me out to any restaurant of my choice, of course I said Le Cirque first. Seeing his expression, I quickly added, or Yauatcha which he readily agreed to.

So we book our table for 1 PM, with me very excited to finally going to a Michelin star restaurant. Yauatcha’s decor is all polished metal and dark wood, with some Asian touches. The hostesses are wearing tight blue mini dresses, and behind the bar, long shelves of alcohol are lit from below. I feel a bit silly having booked a table because the whole restaurant is empty. The serving staff is delighted to see us and ask us to choose where we would like to sit. My vegetarian host is also delighted to find a separate vegetarian menu for him, and I am delighted at the thought of tasting some good cheung funs. In short, the mood is one of delighted anticipation.

My friend decides to start with Asian greens with tofu soup (Rs 275), and on my suggestion also orders a Crispy spicy veg cheung fun (Rs 425) while I order the classic prawn cheung fun (Rs 575) for myself.  Chee Cheung Fun is a Cantonese dish from southern China commonly served either as a snack, small meal or as a variety of dim sum. It is a thin roll made from a wide strip of rice noodles, filled with shrimp, pork, beef, vegetables, or other ingredients. Seasoned soy sauce is poured over the dish upon serving. It is not easy to make and so very few places serve it.

While the soup is satisfactory, the cheung funs disappoint. They do not have the softness of the roll nor the crispness of the prawns that makes the dish so delightful. In fact Royal China makes the same dish much better at a much lesser cost. The veg version has a Chinese pakoda inside and well, is not really a cheung fun. Thai-style Prawn Salad with Mangoes (Rs 775) is interesting, with the sweet tartness of the mangoes pairing well the prawns.

I have mixed feelings about the starters but I hope things get better by the time we get to mains. But they don’t. Pointless is the word that keeps repeating itself in my mind very often during the mains service. Broccoli and Bok Choy in spicy bean sauce (Rs 475) is green and healthy but not much more.

Steamed snapper in black bean sauce (Rs 850) has no character or taste nor texture to speak about.

Sticky rice in lotus leaf with chicken, prawns and shiitake mushrooms (Rs 450) is dry and parts of it have gone hard. Veg Singapore fried noodles are well, a fried staple and so that’s the one thing that we finish.

Things become slightly better with the no-connection-to-China yet exotic sounding desserts. Tropical Cake (Rs 375) has a coconut dacquoise (no idea what it means, reproducing it from the menu), mango mousse, and pina colada sorbet as separate scoops, and mango mascarpone gateau (Rs 375) again has scoops of mango passion fruit jelly, praline mascarpone ice cream, and lychee sorbet. While the desserts are not wow, they certainly are pleasant and competent.

In my humble opinion, Yauatcha’s hype far exceeds the reality. And the prices do not justify the quality of food. I would any day go to Royal China or Nanking (after checking if their Chinese chefs have got their visa or not) for a far better and satisfying experience at a fraction of the price. But if you do decide to go there, I would recommend skipping the main course totally. Just have dim sums – not cheung funs – and a dessert.

The review was anonymously done after paying for the meal.


Ratings (Out of 5)

Food: 3.5 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 3.5 | Value: 3.0 | Overall: 3.5

Meal for two: Rs.5000 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Wheel chair friendly: Yes


About the Author
Aalok Wadhwa Aalok Wadhwa
Restaurant Information
Yauatcha Yauatcha
Level 2, Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
Telephone: 011 49584400, +91 9222222800 view on a map
Opening Hours: 12 Noon to 12 Midnight
Average Price: Rs. 1500 - 2000