Friday, 16 October 2015

Birthday Buns -Yautacha, City

'It’s my birthday
It’s my birthday
I’mma spend my money'
It's My Birthday - and Cody Wise

If the apogee of life is living out the the lyrics from a song sung by an ex-Black Eyed Pea then I've finally made it - although their party featured scantily clad women and exploding cupcakes and mine featured the new Supreme Saturday at Broadgate Circle's Yautacha with a fully clothed (one birthday wish that is just going to have to wait) Stealth.

Stealth was forewarned the place was ‘rather posh’, but for someone that often falls asleep still in brogues and a tweed jacket (really) I think the heads up was more an attempt to moderate her behaviour than fear of violating the dress code. I, for my part, am always impeccably behaved, but for this occasion shunned my Trimm Trabb for actual real boots (albeit with holes in them).

If you need evidence of our suitable attire look no further than the photo Stealth persuaded the woman at the next table (much to my consternation) to take. It’s also the only evidence I have of our pre-dinner cocktails – a lychee martini for Stealth and a negroni for me – a drink that is by its nature supposed to sharpen the appetite but, after looking at the vision above, may conspire to have the opposite effect on the readership. Nevertheless they hit the spot, despite the numerate hunks of ice in mine leading to a less than congruous moment as an errant cube slipped from the glass as I drank…

The set Saturday menu, available from 12-5 at Yauatcha City for a minimum of two guests - features aforementioned cocktails, steamed and fried dim sum platters, half a bottle of wine per person, a choice of mains, post-dinner drinks and desserts from their glittering range of in-house patisserie. It's my birthday and I'll get fat if I want to.

The opening gambit, a steamer stacked with little dumpling jewels, made a strong start with a selection including pork and prawn shu mai, classic har gau, black pepper and wagyu beef dumpling, and a vegetable and truffle wrap that turned out to be a (very nice) piece of stuffed mooli-type radish. An autumal pairing of a crystal dumpling wrap with pumpkin and a pine nut, and heady wild mushroom dumpling rounded things off.

The fried dim sum were again, a bit of a mixed bag and, despite their delicate appearance, rather hefty – on the good side the signature baked venison puffs, the bronzed and friable pastry holding a slow cooked and deeply savoury cargo, were good; even better were the sesame studded prawn toast balls, although the fried bread base would have been better on a full english.

Rather less notable was a mushroom spring roll, which I have almost completely forgotten consuming, and a strange lobster and mayonnaise type roll, covered in an anaemic cobweb-like pastry and served unpleasantly tepid.

The truffled pork belly rib – adorned with impossibly tiny spears of  asparagus and a few edible flower petals for good measure – came topped with a heady adornment that proved to be the final nail in the tuber coffin, leaving me gently sobbing for a mushroom reprieve. (For those who may have feared I could no longer face the fungus, I was happily back eating ham cheese and truffle toasties the following weekend).

First world fungal problems aside it was a masterful piece of pork cookery, the kind the Chinese excel at, with the slow braised and gelatinous meat glazed with a rich salty, spicy sauce and the autumnal funk of the fungi. The accompanying dish of crisp baby bok choi with garlic and soy were, almost, too cute to eat; the dish of sticky and fragrant jasmine rice left sadly untouched.

By the time the piece de resistance, a lobster and glass noodle hotpot, arrived (in what felt like eons after the rest of the food, and after Stealth had tired of pretending to like wine and ordered a lager) we could only half-heartedly pick at the chopped up carapace with the assorted weapons of torture provided. A shame really, as it was a pretty stunning dish that deserved more attention (and £38 on the al la carte menu), with the sweet stir-fried crustacean giving up its briny juices into the bed of glossy mung bean threads below.

Post-dinner cocktails were the now much maligned, but very good, espresso martini, and a classic amaretto sour; and an antacid; and a little lay down...

Desserts was a dizzying choice from the patisserie counter, all baked fresh in house everyday. They also have handmade chocolates and macaroons in eastern-influenced flavours such as sesame cashew, pandan and toasted rice to eat in or takeaway.

By this time the idea of consuming another morsel was threatening to turn things into an unhappy birthday, so thankfully they offered us our cakes to go. An unexpected bonus that also meant I had something to give the beloved Ewing, who had stayed at home on her sick bed - full of snuffles instead of truffles.

First out the box was the renowned raspberry delice; a rose-shaped sponge that was filled with raspberry mousse, madirofolo chocolate and lychee pannacotta before being sprayed with cocoa butter (beats pesticides) and topped with silver leaf. A beautiful cake whose bright, fruity flavours lived up to it's fancy appearance.

The second - the 'chocolate pebble',  comprised of alto el sol single origin dark chocolate, brownie and caramelised white chocolate - was chosen entirely with the Ewing in mind. This was even fancier than the delice with it's chocolate curls and fancy gold 

At £49 quid per person all in, not only was the food some of the tastiest I have eaten for a while, it also put paid to my assertion I was going to 'spend a dollar, dollar, dollar'. Even with the uncouth Stealth's beer and service charge the bill came in at under sixty quid a head; maybe not cheap but excellent value. And while I may have failed in blowing all my cash, we always had the rest of the night to 'put my hands in the air, party like we don't care' (or drink more cocktails and slump by early evening).

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