Upscale dim sum at its best, Yauatcha is a meditation on balance, harmony and restraint. This Soho restaurant is pure elegance, with food as artfully composed as fine calligraphy. From the moment you step inside, you get the feeling that you are participating in something special, and that each mouthful has been carefully created.

Naturally, a meal at Yauatcha is a splurge and the kind of thing saved for a special date night or celebration. Prices are definitely on the high end but seem well worth it considering the quality and authenticity of the ingredients. Portions are small and presented with flair, and the atmosphere is relaxed yet somehow ceremonial. Included are wontons, steamed and fried dumplings, wraps, the obligatory buns, tofu dishes and a heavenly congee. Classics include a chicken pot with shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts and sticky rice, but once in a while an ordinary dish liked braised sea bass is served with bamboo and surprising wolfberries, or pork belly comes garnished with turnips as you’ve never seen them before.

Their popular dim sum and tea pairing option allows the uninitiated to navigate their way through a frankly bewildering menu, as is often the case with dim sum. By balancing out traditional Asian flavours and notes, guests get to see a surprising and unexpected side to common ingredients.

Though obvious pains have been taken to ensure the overall presentation is genuine, there are plenty of playful fusion attempts and spirited reworkings of the usual chicken, beef and pork into creations with wagyu, venison, scallops and crab. Think jasmine tea smoked ribs, venison puffs and liberal use of ginger, soy and red pepper – just in completely novel places.

Booking is essential and service is swift and unobtrusive. Expect clean, pared down decor with just enough warmth to remind you that you are not, in fact, in some clinical Japanese food chain.

Check out Yauatcha here


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