Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Yauatcha - review on London dim sum king

yauatcha-london15 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 0DL - Tel: 0871 2238066

After the writeup about Hakkasan, how does Yauatcha, which is just two Tube stations away, measure up to the competition? This Singaporean finds out.


Yauatcha was Alan Yau's second dim sum venture after Hakkasan's runaway success. Although both establishments seek to present Chinese cuisine in a fusion environment, Yauatcha caters more for the high street customers while Hakkasan has a more exclusive air to it.

Like Hakkasan, Yauatcha is not exactly easy to find. Depending on which side you approach from, you'll either trek through streets filled with run of the mill shops or sex shops, which Soho is famous for. In fact, you wouldn't even, for a second, think that in the mix mesh lies the gem that is vying for the top spot with Hakkasan.

Yauatcha's blue (a horrible choice of colour really) facade, which is slightly translucent, blends in surprisingly well with the display of its macaroons and cakes counter, its primary attraction for many of its patrons.

yauatcha-londonThis restaurant spans over two floors - ground floor and basement. The layout of the ground floor attempts to mimic that of a typical downtown Chinese restaurant with a number of two seater tables, a handful of round tables not meant for more than five and fish tanks with live catch to boot. The basement reminds me of Hakkasan - dim lights that accentuates a fusion aura.

It is apparent that the place is designed to pack as many people in as possible. That explains the cheaper (only slightly though) dim sum and other dishes compared Hakkasan. A typical dim sum serving goes for £3-4 and tea is charged per pot.


Comparing similar staple dim sum (i.e. harkow, siew mai, char siew bao and xiao long bao), Yauatcha certainly beats Hakkasan hands down. With its more extensive menu and somewhat warmer services, it is hard to fathom why one would fork out more for Hakkasan's fare.

yauatcha-londonThe main thing that sets Yauatcha apart from Hakkasan is its desserts and cakes counter. It reminded me of Laduree, only with more varieties. Dim sum chauvinists may find mixing Chinese cuisine with macaroons and cakes as desserts hard to swallow. However, looking at the boxes of desserts carted away by Yauatcha's patrons, I would say that the mentality is not shared by many. Also, with cakes easily available, Yauatcha is a popular venue to celebrate birthdays. In fact, I encountered staff singing birthday songs every single time I was there.

All in all, Yauatcha offers better value for money with the quality of food slightly above that served in Hakkasan. However, if you're entertaining clients or prefer to have your siew mai in peace, you might still want to consider Hakkasan.

Read also...
Hakkasan - review on London's dim sum king
JoM Makan - the true taste of Malaysia
Melati Restaurant - a mix mesh of sorts

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Fëanor said...

CK: my impression of Yauatcha was more for its afternoon teas than its dim-sum, which I have never tried. Now that you've said the word, perhaps I can hie thither and try it out. How does it compare with Bar Shu?

C K said...

Eh? So what did you have for afternoon when you were there? I saw some having scones when I push busy shoveling dim sum into my mouth...

I've not been to Bar Shu before. Is it any good?

Towr said...

I wish the British Embassy will now approved and or release my visa so that I can also blog London.


C K said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by!

So I take it that you're on your way to London? Well, looking forward to reading your blog on London as well.


Fëanor said...

CK: I meant that I thought Yauatcha was a tea place rather than dim-sum. Haven't been there! As for Bar Shu, it's a Szechuan outfit. One or two tasty dishes, but I haven't eaten in Chinatown much, so don't know how good it is relative to other places. Let's say I enjoyed my meal there, although can't remember what I had.

My Bug Life said...

I guess it's a case of choosing quality of food vs ambience..hehhe. I vote for the fod anytime..:) The desserts looked good and photo#1 gave me the impression it's more Japanese looking than a Chinese dim sum restaurant.

C K said...

I see. Well, you should drop by Yauatcha the next time you're around Soho. I understand that Szechuan is known for its spicy dishes, other than its dry spicy noodles, I've never really tried the cuisine before.

Will check it out... and perhaps post about it. Cheers!

C K said...

@my bug life,
My sentiments exactly, I'm a bit uncomfortable with cakes served with my dim sum. It seems.... so wrong. Maybe it's just me.

Keith said...

Woooooosh.... how on earth did you get yourself landed in London, without me realising for such a long period of time? Anyway, this is Neo.