A few days ago, R (who runs a rather interesting thing called Characters of Calcutta apart from doing the thousands of things he does) had called me up to inform about the evening of eminence celebrated at Yauatcha. After successfully completing a year, the brand wanted to bring together members of the Kolkata’s food writer’s community with startups and brands which have made a difference. As I walked in, I was greeted by a number of known and yet-unknown faces, and of course, within minutes, we were all talking nineteen to dozen.
It is difficult to resist the lure of the Dim Sums at Yauatcha. I have been a long-standing fan of the food that Chef Kushal Lama dishes up, and the Lalu, with the tang of lychee juice and the strong lemongrass flavours was just what I wanted after a long day’s work.
For a change, I was in love with the Spicy Turnip Dumpling, with crunchy turnips accentuated with a good hit of spice, primarily consisting of pepper, was exactly the sort of wake-up call my taste buds needed. I picked up my chopsticks, and ensured I got the last one before the next person got it.
Of course, the table was filled with people from different walks of life – starting with Anirban Saha of Kolkata Bloggers, to Rohit Arora from Swiggy, photographer and the owner of Pickle Solutions Indrajit Lahiri, members of team Zomato, Kolkata, Ravi Ranjan from Nasscom, Anirban Halder from Kolkata Curry, Rahul Arora of Bon Appetit and Cafe Pranah fame, Rukshana Kapadia (the face behind Mio Amore), to name a few. Of course, as many of us were dedicated food lovers, we definitely had a great time talking.
But what is a good discussion without some good food to set the mood? As I am allergic to prawns, and was not carrying antihistamine, I decided to give the Prawn Cheong Fun a miss, and headed for the crisp vegetable version. The crisp vegetables worked out beautifully against the silky, slippery Cheon Fun skin, and the light, sweet soy sauce provided that little bit of moisture and tartness which brought the flavours together.
As always, I inched my way towards the Turnip Cake, with a gloriously crisp shell and pillow-soft innards. On the other hand, the crispy lamb with raw mango was one such jewel, mildly sweet and sour, perfectly crunchy, and with a smattering of sesame on top to add to the texture. The raw mango was tart and worked as a palate cleanser, and I might have had more than my share of this.
I was also served the Hakka, sent specially from the bar because I wanted something different, and it was a drink laden with fresh passion fruit, its creaminess definitely an addictive thing.
Our mains were several, but I especially enjoyed the flat, perfectly made Ho Fan (or Hor Fan), with the perfect amount of ‘wok hei’ (breath of wok) which added a smoky note to the noodles. The crunch came from the mung bean sprouts which were tossed in at the very end, and made me feel quite healthy, I daresay.
Fine, I am laughing too.
Meanwhile, I had to get up and walk around to make space for what was coming next. I did not miss this opportunity to take a few photos.
There were several choices in the Mains. I was not looking forward to the Steamed Red Snapper in Asam Sauce (Asam means sour, and not the state, by the way), because I am not much of a fan of the fish. In the end, I chose the chicken, and skipped the rice served with it, because I was about to beg people to stop feeding me.
The Braised Chicken with Mushrooms came with soft chicken thigh meat cooked in a thick gravy, with a good deal of plump, juicy shiitake mushrooms thrown in. I am a sucker for mushrooms, so I ended up picking out the mushrooms from the claypot it came in.
At this point, when we were all about to give up, the dessert platters came out. Yauatcha has a rather decadent dessert platter, with three kinds of desserts, three scoops of ice cream, and six macarons, and I have ordered this multiple times because its gorgeous. Naturally, people had to pose with it.
Look at the platter! There’s the Raspberry Delice in the center, the rather decadent Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse, and the silky smooth Jasmine Tea Cake, with scoops of raspberry swirl ice cream, vanilla ice cream, and an assortment of macarons. I might have been guilty of taking away some of those from Rahul.
I am a good friend, and he is on a diet.
End of justification.
The evening ended with more photographs, plenty of group photos (and sadly, I forgot to take a picture of our motley crew), and happy, satisfied smiles. Thanks Yauatcha and Rana for the rather wonderful experience.
Of course, I cannot end this post without a photo of the Yauatcha’s dessert platter.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined as a guest of Yauatcha Kolkata.