Wednesday, March 29th was the grand opening of Yauatcha Houston, a famous Michelin-starred dim sum tea house and patisserie from London with only one other location in the United States. Its concept revolves around “offering contemporary Cantonese dim sum, patisserie inspired by European culinary techniques and Asian ingredients, and an extensive range of teas, wine, and cocktails;” and I was fortunate enough to snag the last reservation slot for its grand opening…
Inside the restaurant, its clean modern lines are enlivened with bright blue, green, and red, softened with touches of Asian-inspired elements, and romanticized with dim lighting and a ceiling that resembles a star-lit night sky. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner. If you’re unfamiliar with dim sum, it can get overwhelming because there’s a large selection of items to choose from. All dim sum restaurants I’ve been to provide pictures of the food, but this place doesn’t. There are pre-selected courses to choose from, but I thought is was excessive for two so I had our server recommend us the most popular dishes instead:
The first one to come out was the Venison Puff. This is the most popular item at the original London location. The deer was sweet and not gamey at all.
Second dish to come out was the Crispy Duck Roll. If you’ve ever had Peking Duck before, this is what it reminds me of, but instead of a bun, it’s an egg roll shell. The chef was generous with the meat and it was moist without compromising the crunchiness of the egg roll.
I’m very particular with seafood and normally apathetic to steamed rice rolls, but this was my absolute favorite! The prawn made up the bulk of each bite (unlike all the other dim sum places), and I don’t know how the chef did it, but he was able to preserve the crispiness with it wrapped in a saturated rice roll.
I also had no preference for BBQ pork buns before, but this came in a close second. It comes out steaming, has the perfect bun-to-meat ratio, and the BBQ pork was flavorful.
I was not a fan of the scallop shui mai, but my SO loved it and he has a wider palate range for seafood than I do.
And finally, I tried the ever-so popular Rasberry Delice and decided on the Tropical Dome for an unsweet option. The presentation was beautiful and the pastries were crafted with a multitude of textures and complementary tastes. The Rasberry Delice tasted like a soft red velvet and the Tropical Dome was very tart, but refreshing.
Yauatcha stands for “Yau-,” part of owner’s name, “-at-,” with, and “-cha,” tea. It essentially means to enjoy tea with the creator of Yauatcha. I was not in the mood for tea, but 40+ teas are offered here to complement the dishes.
There are many dim sum restaurants in the Houston area, but this place is in a league of its own because the chef brings a fineness and creative flourish to many of the staple dim sum dishes. I’d rate this place an 8/10 for taste, service, and atmosphere and will definitely be here again…I already have another reservation set!
Featured image by Ellie Sharp