Let's start with a disclaimer my experience of Michelin starred restaurants is rather limited( an euphemism for zero actually,before this one really!). Gourmandizing around the world didnot allow me to enjoy this accolade, so it is with fair trepidation that I approached the only 2 Michellin starred restaurant in my hometown Kolkata. Luckily our city boasts of a fair share of good to very good Chinese joints even beyond the usual Pan asian restaurants in the 5 Star establishments. This is mainly on account of a largish resident Chinese population, who took to running restaurants beyond their other two staple business viz tannery and dentistry. Unfortunately like a lot of good things in the city the communities that brought in the cosmopolitan flavour to the city are mostly dwindling with the younger generation packing their bags to greener pastures in Canada, Australia, UK et all. Tangra the official Chinatown is now mostly a place for cheap booze, boisterously loud customers and pedestrian food that’s almost Punjabichinese except a few. Tereti Bazar, the original Chinese settlement has only one authentic lady still serving Chinese breakfast these days.
While have no issues with the 5 stars who provide a nice experience at prices which are rather steep, always feel a little intimidated with the bill that makes me feel that i could easily have a separate dish, if not a meal proper, just with the amount of taxes paid. But that’s stuff for another story.
With this background walked into Yauatacha hoping to savour the experience. The reviewers it seems really don’t do full justice to the establishment. The ambience was quite nice being in the newest mall in town. You had a lovely view of the city if you sat of the left side. The decor was elegant and understated. After taking in these aesthetics we ordered the food. It being a mostly dim sum joint wanted to do justice to the range as much the appetite allowed. We ordered the dim sum platter, which brought in most of the options. The dim sums lived up to meaning of their name “little hearts” with the casing being light and thin and the fillings flavourful. Have been told that pork bun is a signature of such establishments, with Chinese going soft while singing praises about their favourite afternoon snack almost like a Bong salivating for his illish or the best sandesh.A good pork bun should have juices flowing out once it is broken or opened. Here it was adequate but not overwhelming. This feeling was reserved for the crispy prawn cheng fun, which in my mind was a closest approximation of an oxymoron. Don’t get me wrong, i can explain my point. Think of a steamed covering to a crispy fried shell that encases lovely succulent prawns swimming in a very delicate and subtle soy sauce. It made music in our mouths and as they swam down our throats filled our hearts and bellies too. The presentation was nice though the portions were a little petit for our liking, but then we are big eaters by any standard. The desserts were brilliant with the chocolate hazelnut mousse being light dainty and flavourful while the blueberry pistachio bar played unknown but soothing symphony in the mouth.
A balanced review requires some pointers on areas of improvement. The main peeves in our meal was provided by the main course or entree. It depends if they consider themselves as only a tea house then its perhaps fine but as they serve mains, more care is called for specially on signature dishes. Nothing in the world can take away the good richness of a pork belly that if rightly done come redolent with fat, that is rendered well. Unfortunately this version left a lot to be desired and the closest that I could think of was perhaps this was a size zero pork belly, reminding us of the unnaturally anorexic models we often see in upmarket fashion magazines. The Singapore noodles was also bland insipid and marred the experience to a great extent. Michelin star or otherwise simpler establishments offer more flavour, so my suggestion would be a lot more care is called for in the mains if they want to really make a mark in the city’s foodscape, instead of just a novelty in an upscale shopping destination having high footfalls.