Next weekend is Chinese New Year, and I celebrated early by visiting Yauatcha in Soho. Yauatcha, established in 2004, is the only Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant in the UK, and its founder also founded Wagamma's, Busaba Eathai and other similar chains. The main restaurant is located on the lower floor, and Yauatcha's Patisserie is located on the ground floor. The desserts could be seen through the windows, and they all look amazing; this would be the perfect spot to indulge. As this year is the 'Year of the Monkey', the restaurant have a special 'Year of the Monkey' menu with cocktails, desserts, and dim sum.
The restaurant decor is stylish and modern. The exterior walls were lined with inset flickering candle lights, and the black ceiling twinkled with tiny lights that reminded me of stars. The main feature, however, was the bar. The bar is transformed into an aquarium with dozens of tropical orange and yellow fishes. To celebrate the monkey year, several paper oragami monkey decorations were hanging around the restaurant and patisserie.
We received an appetiser when we arrived, and it consisted of soy sauce and two other sauces.
We had the duck roll dim sum, which were very filling and quite large in size. The rolls came with the sweet plum sauce and were crispy on the outside and cooked perfectly. The duck was also not too over-powering, and the ratio of duck to vegetable to the crispy batter/coating was perfect.
To celebrate the 'Year of the Monkey', I ordered the gin cocktail flight known as "Monkey Flight". This contained three cocktails made using Monkey 47 gin. Each were created to be paired with the special menu (which we did not order any food from) and well-presented. The first, "Saffron Gin & Tonic" was created in front of me. The Monkey 47 gin was in the bottom of the glass, and the tonic water was poured over a strainer of saffron into the glass. The cocktail changed colour from clear to a pale gold.
The second was a paler pink colour and known as "Pomelo Fortune". It contained gin, velvet falernum liqueur, pomelo, grapefruit, cranberry and orange, and mandarin bitters. This was the fruitiest of the three cocktails.
The last cocktail was a darker pink (almost red) colour, and it was known as "Pink Kumquat". It included sloe gin, rum, ginger liqueur, cranberries, and rice syrup.
The bloke, who was born in the year of the monkey, had the beef with black bean sauce and found it to be very enjoyable.
I opted to try the Thai style chicken, which was cooked with onion, mango, papaya, and chilli. The batter was crispy and tasty, but I should have asked for it to have extra spice as it did not taste spicy to me at all.
We shared egg fried rice with beans, and this was also delicious.
At the end of the meal, I asked for the six macarons that were created to celebrate the year of the Monkey. These are meant to be slightly discounted when ordering all six together, but the restaurant forgot to adjust the price for me. The flavours on the plate below included Camomile and buttercream, bitter orange almond, and (I think) juniper berry. I'm not sure on that last one because the macaron tasted like it had chocolate ganache on the inside, but I don't think I've ever eaten a juniper berry to know what one tastes like.
In the image below, I had the gin and tonic macaron, the rose macaron, and elderflower ginger macaron. All macarons were decorated beautifully.
The "Year of the Monkey" menu at Yauatcha will run until February 21. The branch of the restaurant in the City will also host cocktail classes with Monkey 47 gin on the 6th and 20th of February. The restaurant is located in Broadwick Street in Soho and Broadgate in the City.
I would like to return to the restaurant to try some of the other dim sum dishes and also to eat in the patisserie on the ground floor.
(Note that this review is my own and I was not asked to go to the restaurant to write a review.)