Archive for the ‘Chinese’ category

Beautiful ‘Blue Tea’ Fusion Dessert at Yauatcha

February 4, 2008

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Yauatcha (café)
15 Broadwick Street
London
W1F 0DL
Reservations: 020 7494 8888 

Why?  Chika and I tried in vain to get tea and cake on a Saturday some time ago.  They wouldn’t let us in for such a paltry order on a weekend, so we had to come back on a weekday.  Tiresome, but I have been seriously yearning to sample the square, sky blue concoction from the tantalising display of multi-hued cakes, decorated creams and mousses.  Indeed, never before have I eaten a food that is a) square and b) blue. 

When?  Friday 1st February, 4.30pm.  Lots of tables available, naturally. 

Impression:  Fish tanks always impress me.  And the cool grey minimalist interior lets the glass display case of vivid sweets and flamboyant macaroon selection really shine.  How on earth do they get macaroons that colour?  Their lurid hues are not of this earth, yet their dissemblance to real food is oddly compelling.

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Prices:  The sweets are £4 – £5ish, pots of tea to share start from £4.  Macaroons are £1 each or 6 for £5. 

Service:  Attractive, oriental type waitresses hang around in minimalist white outfits with odd Chinese-print bumstrap things.  I thought the waitresses were essentially cute and polite, but they do basically ignore you: putting in an order required much flailing of arms and hungry grimaces. 

Description of food and drink:  The velvety blue coating of the Blue Tea sweet enrobed a silky blue-tea flavoured mousse.  Hidden within the mousse was a jammy confit of blackberries, and on top there was half a blackberry and a thin, printed white chocolate triangle.  It was lovely, best eaten slowly but not too sweet.  Chika had a Melon Tiramisu which was sweeter and sharper.  The tiramisu was encircled by a thin white chocolate case, printed with a green bamboo motif… it looked like plastic – but happily didn’t taste like it.  A pot of steaming Dragon’s Well Green Tea (which the menu explains, with great exactitude, is from Sanshia, Taipei, Taiwan) went down very nicely – it was delicate, and not at all bitter. 

Toilets:  Nice black oriental chic waterfall sink that you feel concerned about contaminating (by actually using it).  Inordinately heavy black wooden doors work against your entrance, but once in it is pretty clean throughout.  

Come again?  A clever choice for entertaining friends visiting London, it’s central and ideal for a break from shopping.  Make them think that you lead a very ‘Sex in the City’ lifestyle.  Not on a weekend though.  I’d really like to try the well-recommended dim-sum – perhaps downstairs in the underground, starry-ceiled restaurant area.

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The Chinese Experience Shock

November 20, 2007

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There are a few reasons for the sparse entries of late, most of which have passed.  My 30th birthday caused considerable distraction, as did visitors from the States and a 3-week long case of the dreaded lurgy.  Furthermore serious harassment (talcum powder and toilet paper all over our cooking implements, for example) from our crazy housemate Captain K has monumentally distracted from my desire to be in the kitchen.  We are hoping he’ll be out soon, but in the meantime, we are enjoying restaurants more than ever before! At Chinese Experience (Shaftesbury Avenue – closest tube Leicester Square) the staff greet you with the kind of beaming smile so rare to find in Chinatown.  They’ll sweep you pleasantly through to seating that is a little cafeteria-like, but try not to let that put you off.  There is a special menu that is currently (still!) 50% off before 4.30pm Mon-Fri – this means that the gorgeous selection of Dim Sum is a total steal at £1.30 – £3.20 per dish of 2-4 pieces.  Pictured above is the devastating Prawn Chung Fun (white, slimy bliss featuring lovely big prawns) and the unrivalled Peking Ravioli in Chilli Sauce (a hot, sweet, fresh fusion taste – I always insist on ordering one portion entirely for myself).  I also highly recommend the Pan fried sweet potato cakes, order these for dessert after you’ve finished the main course and they will come promptly – hot, sticky and crispy-skinned to the table.  Top Tip: If you turn the teapot lid upside down they’ll bring you a steaming fresh pot of Jasmine tea too.  Just don’t do what I did and dodge out to the ladies leaving the husband to pay – he pocketed the much-coveted 20% off card (good anytime – though understandably not in conjunction with the lunch deal) that came with the bill!