1 MG Mall,
MG Road,

30th November, 2016

“The road to a full stomach is paved with many foodie delights” – Pradfucious

Any foodie will agree with me when I say that there’s something magical and utterly satisfying in being able to travel to countries, explore their cities, and enjoy the various restaurants and cuisines on offer. There are a few cities in the world where food comes to life – Paris, London, New York, Dubai, and, now, I think we can safely add Bangalore (or Bengaluru if you prefer…I don’t!).

There has been an awakening, have you felt it? Bangalore – the garden city of India (or at least it used to be!) – is not the city I remember it to be. The city used to be sparse of restaurants, save for the odd five-star hotels and usual fast food joints. However, times they are a changin’. Ask any Bangalorean to describe their city now and if the phrase “food scene da” doesn’t pop up, I’ll personally pay for your next meal (terms and conditions apply).  A walk down 100 feet road in Indiranagar and you could swear that your favourite saree shop has turned into a new pub or some swanky rooftop restaurant. 

So it was on a cold, windy, winter’s evening in this newly promoted ‘food town’ that my sister and I decided to dine out. Given the vast number of restaurants across Bangalore, choosing one was never going to be an easy task. Our first choice was Hard Rock Cafe on St. Mark’s Road (we were attracted by the fact that it was located inside an old public library!). However given our knowledge of American-style food, especially their MASSIVE portion size, we decided to seek an alternative solution. Enter Yauatcha.

The luxurious Chinese restaurant, located on the top floor of the recently established 1 MG mall, is Bangalore’s first exposure to the Michelin Standard (the London branch has 1 Michelin Star). So acquainting ourselves with the Michelin experience had an added appeal. Given that we chose Yauatcha at the 11th hour, we decided to do a walk-in, brave for a restaurant with such a reputation. I’ve always found proverbs to be cliched, but more often than not they are often dead on, and so as they say ‘Fortune favours the brave’. 

7:30 p.m. – We landed at Yauatcha, hoping to at least have a waiting period of 10-15 minutes, but to our surprise the restaurant was quite empty. We were greeted at the door by the receptionist and seated at a table. The decor befitted the Yauatcha brand – modern, professional, and (quiet) serene. Though, as observed by my sister, the tables were quite close to each other (privacy means nothing nowadays). On our tables were chopsticks (no knives, no forks, no nothing!), which intimidated the both of us (well…me at least) but when the opportunity to use forks and knives fell on to our laps, we grabbed it with both hands.

We were handed the menus by the waiter. The options are plentiful, whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian, from dimsums to desserts. Deciding our order didn’t take us too long, neither of us was hungry. We ordered the Chicken and Coriander Dimsum, the Braised Chicken and Mushroom in Claypot, and the Vegetable Singapore Fried Noodles. For drinks we ordered a glass of Ginger Ale, and a Lime and Passion Iced Tea.

7:45 p.m. – The dimsums arrived. Steaming inside the bamboo box, the dimsums were bright purple in color, like freshly peeled onions, and the aroma set our tummies rumbling with delight. Hot as they were, the dimsums were begging to be eaten, and foolish as I was, I duly obliged. My tongue was on fire (BURN!)  but the taste was well worth it. The chicken was moist and succulent and the coriander gave the chicken a flavour it deserved. The one thing I could probably criticize the dish for is the lack of spice. I had to use the hot sauce on the table to really get some kick in.

 ( From left to right ): Chicken and Coriander DimSum; Braised Chicken and Mushroom in Claypot; Vegetarian Singapore Fried Noodles; Blueberry and Pistachio Bar
(From left to right ): Chicken and Coriander DimSum; Braised Chicken and Mushroom in Claypot; Vegetarian Singapore Fried Noodles; Blueberry and Pistachio Bar

8:00 p.m. – The rest of our order arrived. Due to the lack of space on our table, given the drinks, the waiters had to push another table beside ours in order to have room for both dishes (I guess that’s why the tables are so close together!). I didn’t think, when I entered the restaurant, that I was too hungry, but after my first bite any notion of ‘feeling full’ completely fizzled out. I think chicken should always be cooked in claypot because the latter adds a fourth (fifth, sixth, etc.) dimension to flavour, something that cannot be achieved by a simple wok. Added to that the mushrooms were enormous but delicious. The noodles was the most unexpected dish on the table (and we ate purple dimsums!). I had expected the noodles to be fat, almost spaghetti-like, and quite heavy on the stomach. On the contrary, it was thin, golden, and all bundled up like blond locks on a girl, though the heaviness remained the same. Together, the noodles and the chicken claypot formed a harmonious symphony – 2+2 = 6.

8:30 p.m. – We were done with our dinner. Oh wait…no we weren’t. We still hadn’t had dessert. We were handed the dessert menu. Each item on the menu was as pleasing in its description as it could be. If only we had the stomach to sample each dish. An Instagram post by one of my sister’s friends showed us just how good desserts are at Yauatcha. And so we ordered the same dish – the Raspberry Delice. The picture on Instagram had already done it’s bit in hyping our expectations, and the wait was nearly unbearable. The waiter approached us with a face that said it all – “I’m sorry sir, but we’re out of the Raspberry Delice”. Cue the heartbreak. And so we scoured through the menu one more time, looking for an item that would be good enough to quench our expectation. There it was – the Blueberry and Pistachio Bar. 

8:45 p.m. – Our dessert arrived, and wow! I was left speechless. It looked absolutely gorgeous – from the tiered blueberry and pistachio bar to the lemon sorbet to the crumbs of chocolate across the plate. Even putting my spoon through the bar would be like destroying a priceless painting. Nevertheless we did (partly because we paid for it, wholly because we were hungry) and it was delicious. The sweetness of the blueberry and chocolate balanced by the sourness and richness of the lemon in the sorbet. By the time we finished dessert, our stomachs had had its fill and we were ready to leave.

Overall, our first experience with the Michelin Standard was extremely good, despite it being ‘wallet-emptying’. The food was up to standards and the service was impeccable. Whether I would be back soon is a question that only my bank can answer, but if for nothing else, I might head back for the dish that got away – the Raspberry Delice. If this is the standard of Michelin restaurants, I don’t think it would be too long before I head out for another such experience.

P.S. – For a Chinese restaurant, I was slightly disappointed not to receive a Fortune Cookie. Maybe finding a table without reservation was “Fortune” enough!

Yauatcha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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