Do You Want Dim Sum? | Yauatcha City, Broadgate Circle, London, EC2M 2QS
Broadgate Circle is all we’re hearing about lately, it’s a new development practically on the doorstep of Liverpool Street station. As the name implies it’s sweeping arc of restaurant upon restaurant that surround a large outdoor circular courtyard of which they all share. We’d come to check out Yauatcha City, part of the Hakkasan Group which has taken over most of this new space (7,220 square feet to be precise). The kitchen is headed up by Chef Tong Chee Hwee who has worked for the group for twelve years.
We had high hopes of popping into José Pizarro‘s latest opening for a glass of sherry in the sunshine beforehand. But oh no, we could barely get through the crowd. Adam Richman had pitched up earlier with a bunch of smokers and BBQs filming an episode of BBQ Champ. The only place we could squeeze into was Beany Green – an Australian coffee shop which appears to come to life at night, we found a spot on some deck chairs for a pre-dinner cocktail.
Anyway, you get the idea, it’s a busy place. Yauatcha was pretty hectic too but the staff are so patient, weaving in and out of the way of diners making their way around the long curving restaurant. Decor is sleek and simple, the scent of joss sticks waft through the room, effortlessly cool, buzzy, no clutter, no fussiness and absolutely nothing industrial.
We haven’t visited the original Michelin-starred Yauatcha in Soho so can’t compare the two, although it’s been on The List for a long while (where hasn’t?) The tables here are slightly too close together, if you’ve come for a private conversation, this isn’t the place to do it. Great for us though as we got to listen in on a father and daughter arguing about her boyfriend, fascinating stuff, saved us from coming up with conversation.
Our waiter James was adorable, he reminded us of Russell Norman, oozing passion with impeccably high standards of service. We kicked back with a cocktail each (a Cha la lai (£11) with Belvedere vodka, black grapes, oolong tea, apple juice and Champagne for him and a Lemonberry martini (£11) for me – Ketel One Citroen, raspberry, vanilla, lemon and cranberry juice.
We rifled through the menu feeling totally overwhelmed by the choice. Over came James with some much needed help, he asked us: ‘How hungry are you? Medium hungry, hungry or hungry hungry?’ Love it! We opted for ‘hungry’ as we didn’t want to leave feeling as though our stomachs could explode at any moment (although of course that is what happened).
He picked out some dishes for us to try, I don’t know who was more excited by them, him or us. We started off with the unusual Fried chilli squid with oatmeal and curry leaf (£11.20). Wrapped in a delicious crunchy and crumbly coating with a sneaky chilli kick that we couldn’t get enough of, a surprisingly generous portion too.
Chinese chive and prawn dumplings (£5.80) were loaded full of gorgeous plump and juicy prawns, simple and light dim sum to balance out the other dishes. Yauatcha isn’t all about the dim sum though, there’s hearty main dishes too. Our Stir-fry rib eye beef in black bean sauce (£19.90) was so perfectly cooked with rare and tender strips of meat that retained their flavour despite the rich and robust sauce.
I could eat noodles all day long, just love them, the Singapore stir-fry vermicelli with prawn and squid (£11.80) were great, if a tad sticky but sadly my belly couldn’t cope with the onslaught of carbs. Somehow I can always find room for vegetables though so the Baby pak choi with oyster sauce, garlic, ginger (£9.80) didn’t go to waste.But we weren’t done yet, oh no… The Wagyu beef bun with salted cabbage (£26) from the ‘Supreme special dishes’ section was yet to come. We’d been recommended to try this dish, sadly I found it all a bit too rich, leaving Ade to get through three buns on his own, this would have been joyous experience had it been a couple of hours earlier. A pretty pricey dish too – £6 a bun! Yikes, but that’s Wagyu for you.
Help was at hand with some beautifully named and soothing Eight Butterflies fruit infused green tea blend (£4.30 per pot) although looking at the menu again just now, I spotted they also do a White Peony White tea (along with 38 other types of tea.) I should have made Ade have that purely so I could try it. That’s the bonus of eating out as a couple, you can take advantage in a way you just wouldn’t dare with friends.All the desserts from the Patisserie looked pretty amazing (these pretty Petit Gateaux are displayed in a cabinet by the entrance), but I’d had my eye on the lilac Cassis and violet grand macaron vanilla cremeux, Cassis, violet, compote (£5.90) from the moment I walked in. Executive pastry chef Graham Hornigold has created a fine array of macarons, petits gateaux and chocolates.
When the desserts here are gone, they’re gone! Luckily there was still a macaron for me and a Citrus tart, grapefruit curd, Kalamanzi, lemon sable (£5.90) for him. Such gorgeous desserts, inside and out and impeccably made, simply faultless. This branch of Yauatcha is the first to have a standalone Patisserie, just below the main restaurant by the way.
As we rolled out at gone 10pm the oddly flood-lit terrace was still full of people spilling out from the restaurants. Somehow we suspect any restaurant that opens up in Broadgate Circle will do well, but of course it helps if they’re as good as Yauatcha.
London, EC2M 2QS
Telephone: 020 3817 9888
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 12 noon – 11.30pm
Patisserie Counter: 10:00am – 10:00pm
Book a table online
Nearest station: Liverpool Street Station (3 mins walk) Moorgate (7 mins walk)
We ate as guests of Yauatcha City, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.