The classy Yauatcha
Saturday, December 30th , 2006
I hope you all had a great Christmas. Eating out between Christmas and New Year in London is rather hit and miss: a lot of places close down this week and reopen after New Year. You also need to treat fish dishes with suspicion, since hardy any fishermen go out at this time and hence any fish dishes you are served in a restaurant are most likely frozen rather than fresh. The excellent fishmonger Fishworks simply closes for this period, for example. However I did manage a couple of nice meals. Eight Over Eight is a clone of the excellent E&O in Notting Hill, but located in the even trendier Kings Road. The menu and décor are virtually identical and the cooking is almost as good as at the original. The pan Asian cooking works surprisingly well e.g. tasty soft shell crab rolls and terrific snow peas with garlic crisps and a hint of chilli.
I also had another fine meal at Yauatcha, which is under the same ownership as Hakkasan but does just dim sum, not just at lunch time but in the evening. Having been a long term fan of the Royal China for dim sum, I have to say that Hakkasan’s and Yauatcha’s dim sum has the edge. The dim sum at the two sister restaurants are the same, and indeed Yauatcha gained a Michelin star in 2006 to match that of Hakkasan. Dish after dish here is extremely good e.g. very tender almond prawns, tasty salt and pepper quail, crab salad (pictured) and perfect har gau (steamed prawn dumplings). The bill at Yauatcha usually ends up quite a bit lower than Hakkasan and indeed some of the dim sum dishes are at little at £3.50 or £4.50 (though the individual dishes vary significantly; don’t expect lobster for this price). However about £40 per head including drinks will buy you more dishes than you can reasonably eat.