The price of snob value

Published: 16 December, 2011 06:53 IST | Tanveer Bookwala |

Drop-dead prices and far-from-generous portions left us surveying our plates with disdain at the spawn of the Michelin-starred restaurant

Drop-dead prices and far-from-generous portions left us surveying our plates with disdain at the spawn of the Michelin-starred restaurant

Yauatcha - Yeow! Ouch! Yeah, it's that kind of restaurant. Let's tell you why. But first, the back-story: Yauatcha is a contemporary dim sum teahouse that opened in London in 2004. The restaurant received a Michelin star within a year of its opening.

Yauatcha's sprawling interiors and open kitchen create a welcome vibe

Michelin stars are considered a prestigious rating, awarded to only the world's best restaurants. Seven years later, the restaurant offers an all-day grazing experience, specialising in authentic dim sums, as well as wok-friendly dishes and other 'small eats' in the cozy, corporate gallis of the Bandra-Kurla complex.

We tried making a reservation on a Friday. When we call, we are informed that they are full till Sunday, not the coming Sunday, but the following Sunday, a good 10 days later! Hard to imagine for a new restaurant Michelin or otherwise! As luck would have it, they call to say that there is, after all, a table available.

On arrival, there is a valet charge of Rs 50: the receipt for which is not provided. The lobby doubles as a shopping stop. Hand-rolled chocolates (Rs 180 for three squares), tea pots, tins of bespoke teas from China and Taiwan are all available for prices starting at Rs 300 for 40 gms of tea.

The Cassis Chocolate is a tangy-sweet truffle with a hint of liqueur.

We are taken up a flight of stairs to the restaurant area, which is (surprise! Surprise!) empty! So, why the pseudo snobbery!

Modern take
The food, we are duly informed, is the modern interpretation of Cantonese cuisine. The Dim Sums and Dumplings are the specialty here. Dim sum, a Cantonese lunchtime specialty, is traditionally washed down with tea.

The Veg Crystal (Rs 265) dumpling is a combination of shiitake mushrooms, vermicelli noodles, carrot, lettuce leaves and coriander.

Shockingly for a restaurant of this standard the wait staff wasn't clued into what went into the dish. Luckily, the taste and texture didn't disappoint, but here's the kicker: For Rs 265, you get all of three, that's right, three dumplings.

To wash it down, and recover from the shock, we order the Classical Beauty (Rs 225 for a pot) blue tea. A delicious beverage blend made from the flavourful blue heartwood of a medicinally benevolent tree, which grows deep in the Peten Region of Mexico and three well known, specially selected flowers.
But one sip is enough to let you know that the mild lacing is devoid of the richly flavorful taste and naturally balancing and restorative effect that tea is supposed to have. Languid and dull!

Is that all?
The Kung Pao Chicken (Rs 475) is the healthier version of the traditional Kung Pao Chicken. In this version, the chicken is stir-fried, instead of deep-fried, reducing the fat content, and served with disappointingly soft cashews on the side. The proportions were once again disappointing, and a few Sichuan peppercorns were certainly welcome.

The Long Bean Rice (Rs 275) is a simple fried rice preparation. It is the dried paste that imparts the rice with its unique Southeast Asian flavor. Palatable! Be warned, one rice dish is good enough only for one portion.

The Cassis Chocolate (Rs 325) is an interesting tangy-sweet truffle that features a hint of Cr me de Cassis liqueur.

Finely chopped chocolate is whisked into the cream to create the only superlative dish of our meal.
More cash, than dash Yauatcha is for the flamboyant: of style and cash. The only upside is that you might bump into the odd celebrity, who swears by its Michelin rating.

At Yauatcha, Ground floor, Raheja Towers, Bandra-Kurla Complex.
Call 26448888
Yauatcha didn't know we were there.
The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals.

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