I have put an inch on each thigh and God knows how much around the middle this week because of all the eating out I have been forced to do. Last night, a Sunday, all I wanted to do was slob around and watch the telly, nursing a hangover from the night before, when we were suddenly invited out to a Chinese restaurant by an Indian family we know. I had just finished my Sunday Lunch of roast chicken and Yorkshire pudding but because I am a trooper, I put on my lippy and hauled my behind off to meet them. I was so full when I got home, I was like Mister Creosote out of Monty Python, I couldn’t have eaten a wafer-thin mint!
I cannot get used to all this late night eating; it is getting out of control. I always make the mistake of eating all the hors d’oeuvres and then being surprised when I think it’s time to go home and suddenly everybody is called to a sit down dinner. How many times have I been caught out like that? The last thing I want after a skin full of sparkling wine and a bellyful of fancy little snack-lets is a full-on four course Indian meal.
Lots of my skinny Indian friends are ‘feeders’ too and insist I try everything, especially the gulab jamon and will not take no for an answer. I watch with awe at the beginning of the evening when they all sit around shoo-ing away the waiter’s offerings and declining alcohol, “Just a little room-temperature water for me, please.” If only I could be so disciplined. Everybody is so serious; I need to drink to lighten the mood a little even though I know I will pay for it in the morning, especially on a school night!
So, when Mumbai Connexions members were invited to the preview opening of new Bandra Kurla restaurant Yauatcha, I was pleased to hear it was a lunch time event and there would be no alcohol served – only tea. Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find everyone sitting around cheerfully with a glass of wine in hand - on a Tuesday afternoon as well! It’s profligate, but it’s also free, so I ordered a nice glass of chilled white.
Yauatcha is the little sister of our favourite Cantonese restaurant, Hakkasan; it is, essentially, Hakkasan-lite. It’s a lighter, brighter canteen but invokes the same underwater atmosphere with its huge tranquillizing aquariums. Soon to arrive at the table in thick, ceramic bowls was the steaming Cheung Fun– a type of dim sum, they have 45 different varieties here! Most are priced between Rs 225 and Rs500, with a couple of very fancy exceptions (the Chilean Sea bass dumpling with lotus root at Rs950) The table went very quiet while we devoured the Cheung Fun with the sublime accompanying sauce. There was only one ‘mention of ‘slimy’ but that particular critic was pretty quickly silenced by the ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’ of the others.
The service was speedy and the wine flowed and next came the aromatic crispy duck. People were visibly salivating as the waiter shredded the duck at the table and we couldn’t plum-sauce-up our little pancakes quickly enough! Along with this we were served glistening, tender pork-belly in a perfectly balanced sweet and tangy sauce. Along came the Sea Bass in ginger and after that, it all became a blur.
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another thing, a plate of jewel-coloured macaroons was placed before us. The idea is that you accompany them with one of the huge array of teas. The waiter will advise on which tea complements which particular dish. There are all sorts of delicately-flavoured mousses, ice creams and desserts to choose from, it’s knowing when to stop!
Now the question is which is better - Hakkasan or Yuatcha? It’s a toughy, maybe I will have to try them both again!
Yuatcha is open from 12 noon to 1 am and can be found at Raheja Tower, Bandra Kurla Complex (E) Call: 26448888