There’s something rather wonderfully lazy about Yauatcha, Kolkata. In most dim sum houses, there are people running everywhere, grasping, sweating, eating their way through their share of dumplings and sides. But when I sit down on one of the seats by the window, the late afternoon sun pleasantly warm as evening approaches, the mood is relaxed, idle chatter gently drifting around, servers attentive yet not breathing down the neck, and as I settle more deeply into my chair, a glass of Tokyo Cooler, red raspberries and tangy guava with a touch of Elderflower to keep the floral note in, is placed before me.
R and I discuss the Chinese New Year menu at Yauatcha. The theme of Yauatcha this time is red – and two festive menus are presently available: the Chinese New Year Signature menu, and the Supreme Selection menu, available from 16th January to 11th February, 2017 and priced at 1500/- per person, for a minimum of two people or more. We ask for the Scallop and Crab dumplings at first, fighting over the next choice as the dish enters in all its glory. I’m struck by the colour – its bright red, the colour created by mixing carrot juice with the thin dumpling skin. The scallops inside are buttery, with a touch of flaky crab meat – I grab the second one while R gets distracted.
The chicken dumplings are beautifully lilac from the extracts of purple cabbage juice mixed in with the potato starch which goes into making their skin. They are filled with juicy chicken mince with a touch of coriander.
I have a little, soft spot for the Vegetable Chive dumplings, purely because they are so vibrant and green, thanks to their skin coloured with chive juice. The pomegranate beads add a dash of sweetness to the otherwise simple filling, which I generously anoint with the hot pepper oil served on the table.
The Crispy Duck Rolls are crunchy and delicious with a smear of Hoisin on top. Inside, these are packed with soft duck meat flavoured with more Hoisin and a touch of star anise. I want more of these, but R refuses to part with his share.
The main course boasts of several options, including prawns, chicken and lamb, and I pick lamb while R is more than happy with Kung Pao Chicken. The lamb slices are sticky and delicious, and we pick them out quickly before they get cold. The Ho Fan noodles are smoky from the hot wok, with a good dash of soy and black pepper. They need the squeeze of lime to bring out the flavours fully, and I admire the beautiful, slippery texture of the noodles which I can slurp down pretty easily.
For dessert, for once I decide to eat something non-chocolate laden, because Yauatcha is one of those few places where I prefer the non-chocolate desserts over the chocolate ones. Not including the Jaffa Cake though, but that’s another story.
The Luxe Gateaux is smooth, with a dash of cardamom and star anise flavouring the light as fluff mousse. Chef Kushal Lama, the man who I always see busy in Yauatcha Kolkata’s kitchen explains the significance of the dry fruits sprinkled on top – to add texture, and for good luck in the new year. The Year of the Rooster has begun, and the menu is on for quite some time, so head over to that part of the city and try out a rather interesting menu which the brand offers!