Yauatcha City review

Yauatcha City review

by Mecca Ibrahim 20 May 2015

Yauatcha's second London restaurant opens in the heart of the City on 20th May 2015. It's hard to imagine that a 7,220-square-foot semi-circle restaurant in Broadgate Circle can offer the intimacy of a Chinese dim sum teahouse. Happily it does.

Mecca worked as head of social media at Great British Chefs and joined at its launch in July 2011.

Mecca worked as head of social media at Great British Chefs and joined at its launch in July 2011. Prior to that, she spent the last eighteen years at some of the biggest and most innovative internet businesses out there (Yahoo, JustGiving, E-How, Moo.com and Joost). She was winning awards for her blog when most people didn't know what a blog was. She also ran the multi-award winning London Underground Tube Diary which launched in 2003.

I have a confession to make. Alan Yau's Michelin-starred intimate restaurant in Soho has so many happy memories for me, I was slightly perturbed to hear that a new mammoth offering would be opening in the City. With a few notable exceptions, my experience of City dining hasn't been great. I've always felt small and under-dressed. I've always felt surrounded by braying people having power lunches. I've always felt that I should be drinking several large glasses of over-priced wine just to get through the experience. I've always felt a sense of relief when leaving the restaurants, the madness of Liverpool Street station and the City in general and heading back "West".

Coming face to face with the hugeness of Yauatcha in Broadgate Circus for its launch party, with my background of City dining prejudices, I privately thought "Let's give it half an hour then go". Three hours later, I made my way home, full of Yauatcha's legendary dim sum and after tasting some of the best desserts in my life. I can't wait to go back.

Broadgate Circle
The Yauatcha terrace

Two large outside terraces, a couple of bars and seating for almost 200 people make up Yauatcha City, yet the restaurant manages to maintain all of the intimacy and "chatter shop" atmosphere of its older sister in Soho. With aquariums, starlit ceilings, deep booths and subtle touches of China from the blossoms embroidered on the banquette seating through to the iconic blue glass, there's a familarity with yet difference from Yauatcha Soho.

All of the delights of authentic Cantonese dim sum were on offer. With open kitchens we were able to watch the skilled chefs preparing a huge range of steamed, baked, grilled and fried dim sum. Don't leave without eating the Scallop shui mai, Prawn and beancurd cheung fun and Venison puffs. The shui mai stuffed with minced prawn and topped with caviar are quite easily my Desert Island dish.

But it's not all about the dim sum. In a first for the company, Yauatcha City sees the launch of a standalone Yauatcha Patisserie on the level below the main restaurant.

Executive Pastry Chef, Graham Hornigold and Head Pastry Chef, Sarah Frankland have creates a picture perfect collection of macarons, petits gateaux and chocolates. With design an architect would be proud of, yet with a lightness of touch and beautiful citrus note running through many the desserts, they are outstanding examples of masterful patisserie.

My photography does not do justice to how amazing the "Exotic Pandan" is. Creamy, solid, comforting, it has texture of a English nursery dessert - like tapioca, semolina or rice pudding. Yet, look at it, this is clearly no English pudding. With the coconut, passion fruit and mango all bursting through to cleanse your palate, I really can't think of a better dessert to follow dim sum.

Scallop shui mai
The patisserie
Exotic Pandan

For me Yauatcha City will be my new haven in the hugeness of the City. I'll return to sit and chat with friends. I'll find new favourite dishes. I'll enjoy cocktails. I'll go home with a box of Graham Hornigold's exquisite pastries. No longer will Broadgate Circle be a place to get in and out of as quickly as possible. It'll be a place to take time out and enjoy legendary dim sum and picture perfect patisserie.

Yauatcha City, Broadgate Circle, London, EC2M 2QS - Opening Monday to Saturday - 12 noon – 11.30pm; Patisserie Counter 10:00 am – 10:00 pm