Royal China – Bayswater

Reviewed on December 4th, 2014 by Dina

Sundays are a great time to see friends over a spot of brunch. This time it was brunch with a difference – a dim sum one!

Royal China is a popular place and luckily as we had got there before noon, we didn’t have to queue. But by the time we left, there was a long line of people waiting for a table.

A dark interior with decorated marble walls, coloured soft lighting and many round tables made up the restaurant area. There was a bar adjacent to the waiting area at the front of the restaurant.

It was nice not to have to decide which dishes to order as friends placed the order for the food selection. Bamboo baskets of steamed dumplings, buns, noodle dishes and dipping sauces graced our table.

Royal China EntranceRoyal ChinaRoyal China InteriorRoyal China DumplingsRoyal China Cheung FunRoyal China Roast Pork BunsRoyal China Braised NoodlesRoyal China Turnip CakeRoyal China Egg Tarts

Fluffy white buns were filled with the sweet char sui roast pork. The fried dough cheung fun were topped with sesame seeds. The crispy interior of the fried dough was encased by the soft white outer layer. It was not until after the meal that we realised that the sauce that had come with it had not been tried.

Big flat black Chinese mushrooms topped the braised thin noodles. The sauce was flavoursome. The noodles came with some cooked greens on the side. Other dishes were turnip cake and also tasty prawn and chive dumplings.

The staff and service were wonderful at Royal China. They were professional and efficient, swiftly cleaning away empty plates throughout the meal.

It had to be tea to go with the dim sum brunch. It was served by the pot and was refilled when asked.

To end the meal on a sweet note, baked egg tarts were had. A creamy egg custard filling in a soft light pastry was delightful.

Royal China had a wonderful buzz about the place and a great atmosphere. The dim sum was absolutely perfect, all fresh and tasty. A good start to the Sunday with lovely chats amongst friends and all set for an afternoon at the park!

Royal China, 13 Queensway, London, W2 4QJ

Rating: ★★★★★

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Yo Yo Bar & Restaurant – Shipley

Reviewed on July 29th, 2014 by Dina

Asian fusion cuisine can be a bit of a hit or miss situation. But Yo Yo had nothing at all to worry about with the taste and quality of their food.

As Yo Yo is a bar and restaurant, the restaurant area is on the raised level which overlooks the bar area. The dining area is spacious and has high backed chairs, wooden tables and a beige and brown decor.

Soup and fried delights were the start of this family feast! The Tom Yam Soup had the perfect balance of sweet, sour and tangy flavours. Sliced carrots, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, mange tout and spring onions were the vegetables in this clear soup.

The Vegetarian Combo was a good variety of items which included dim sum, samosas, tempura and salad. The vegetable tempura were aubergine slices, peppers and courgette. They were all really tasty; not just the vegetables but also the batter. Filo pastry filled with spiced vegetables were the samosas. The dim sum were pan fried and stuffed generously with the vegetable filling. The dipping sauces were mint yogurt raita and tempura sauce. All of the starters dishes were satisfying and had a good flavour to them.

Yo Yo Tom Yam SoupYo Yo Yo Yo Vegetable ComboYo Yo Massaman CurryYo Yo Stir Fried Vegetable MedleyYo Yo Thai Red CurryYo Yo Baked Lemon CheesecakeYo Yo Ice Cream SurpriseYo Yo Sticky Toffee PuddingYo Yo InteriorYo Yo Interior 2Yo Yo Bar Area

Thai influenced dishes were chosen for the mains. Even though the Yo Yo menu did not give the option for the curries to be vegetarian, the staff were more than happy to make them without the meat.

The Massaman curry had big cubes of tofu, potatoes, onion, cauliflower, mushrooms and carrots. The creamy coconut curry had a richness to it and the tastes of the tamarind and ginger came through.

The Vegetable Thai Red Curry was slightly lighter and was made with similar vegetables to the Massaman curry. Instead of tofu and potatoes though, this curry had broccoli and peppers. Both of the curries were mild and were served with jasmine rice. A medley of colourful stir fried vegetables were also had as side dish.

The portion size of the food at Yo Yo is fairly big. But there is always room for dessert! Our selection included the hot pudding of the day, baked lemon cheesecake and the ice cream surprise.

Sweet sticky toffee pudding with custard is a classic hot pudding. This particular one had to be a personal favourite out of the desserts. It was sweet, sticky, rich and delicious; everything that is expected from such a pudding. It was the first time that I had baked cheesecake and it was not as nice as a normal cheesecake. The lemon cheesecake was tangy but the texture was slightly dense for my liking. The ice cream surprise was served in a sundae glass with scoops of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream. It was topped with chocolate sauce and a wafer.

The Yo Yo staff were lovely, friendly and gave good service. Even though the kitchen was soon to close, they gave us time to decide on our order and also gave us a chance for dessert.

Yo Yo is a great place to go to for some variety to your meal selection. From starters, to mains right through to dessert, you won’t be disappointed. The only problem you may have is what to choose from the different Asian dishes!

Yo Yo, Rosse Street, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 3SW

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Yauatcha – Soho

Reviewed on February 8th, 2012 by Dina

For Chinese New Year this year, we were lucky to have our family member from overseas in town for it! To make it an extra special celebration, we went to Alan Yau’s Michelin-starred Yauatcha restaurant in Soho. This finally fulfilled yet another one of my dreams and that was to go and dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant!

Yauatcha has a blue theme with a wonderful fish tank along one wall of the restaurant. Just inside the entrance is the counter fridge displaying the many eye catching desserts. The soft lighting sets the mood of the restaurant.  There is some cushioned seating and also some round white tables and dark leather chairs.

Two floors make up the dining area with the lower level having a livelier vibe. There are little alcoves decorated with tea lights and a panelled low level beige and dark wood ceiling.

The waitress was really friendly and so welcoming. She made our time at Yauatcha feel very personal and special. We were instantly put at ease and made to feel comfortable. All throughout the meal, she made sure that everything was okay. The menu was explained thoroughly and we learnt a lot about the many different teas that Yauatcha serves, from the normal black teas right through to the blue teas!

About the teas, the big dark tea caddies lined the shelves along the back wall of the restaurant. The tea was served by the pot.

Instead of the tea this time though, I was taken by the Hakkasan Virgin cocktail. This is a speciality of Hakkasan restaurants, which Yauatcha is a part of. This sweet cocktail was truly amazing! It was a combination of lychee, passion fruit and coconut. If you like Pina Colada, then the Hakkasan Virgin cocktail could be your new favourite drink! It has the right amount of coconut so that it is not a heavy drink.

Yauatcha does food of a high quality and all of the dishes were presented beautifully. The portion sizes were big, which took us by surprise, as we were expecting them to be quite small. After we had finished our starters, we were given clean fresh plates for us to have our main meal. All through the meal, the staff cleared up the crumbs from the table and made sure that our table remained clean and clutter free.

So, now onto the food. We had a pretty fantastic selection of starters and mains and made sure that we had some room left for the desserts.

Two lotus leaf parcels were filled with sticky rice, tasty chicken and dried shrimp. The prawn toast were three round balls packed full of juicy prawn and coated with sesame seeds.

The char sui cheung fun had a delicious barbecued pork filling. The outer white coating was not too thin or too sticky. The chilli squid was coated with oatmeal and curry leaf. This sounded like an odd combination, especially with the crumbly oatmeal, but the flavours definitely worked. The squid was really soft and moist.

As for the meat dishes, none of them disappointed. The classic crispy aromatic duck was a plate of tender shredded duck. The meat was not at all fatty and it had a great crispy skin. Small thin warm pancakes, together with cucumber matchsticks, strips of spring onion and finally the plum sauce were perfect for the duck wraps.

Another great meat choice was the sweet and sour Berkshire pork. These ribs were coated in a sweetish sauce and again the meat was cooked so well, that it just fell off the bone.

That all made up our first round of food! An interesting main dish was the Mongolian style venison. This was in a butter and black pepper sauce. This was the first time that I had ever had venison. I was expecting it to be a really heavy dense chewy meat, but this definitely wasn’t the case. The chunks of venison were melt in the mouth and it was beautifully cooked. It reminded me a bit of lamb.

The venison dish also had big slices of peppers and onions. There was a vegetable in this dish that we really could not tell what it was. It was slightly spongy like aubergine but also was a bit like courgette. As we couldn’t identify it, we asked our waitress what it was. She solved our mystery by telling us that it was the trumpet mushroom and also gave us some information on it!

The traditional style fried sea bass were two fillets of fish. These were with an osmanthus sauce. The fish had a light delicate flavour.

Our vegetable dish of spicy aubergine, sato bean, okra and french bean was wonderful. The skinless aubergine chunks still had some firmness to them. The vegetables were not at all over cooked.

Lastly, we had a stir fried udon noodle dish. The noodles were coated in a black pepper sauce and had strips of vegetables running through it.

We were surprised that we didn’t need any rice to go with our main meal! This was a good choice as it meant that we truly got to appreciate all the flavours and textures of the cuisine.

The desserts all looked so tempting and we were spoilt for choice. Luckily, there were a few of us dining, so we got to have a selection and sample the different delights.

As it was another special occasion, a slightly late birthday celebration, one of the desserts was presented differently for the birthday girl! The rose flower shaped raspberry delice was presented on a slate, with a scoop of ice cream, fresh raspberries and wafer thin chocolate. The raspberry delice had a soft chocolate centre, raspberry sauce, biscuit and had a red powder like coating.

Three big sesame seed balls were served warm. They had a crispy outer and the inner had an oozing black sesame seed centre. It was actually quite a nice dessert!

A dark plate contained the colourful macaroons. The selection that we had were cherry, coconut and strawberry. They had the crunchy outer and a chewy softer inside, just like they should be!

Saving the best till last, was my favourite of coconut charlotte! This was a combination of white chocolate, coconut, mint and basil. There was a thin layer of mango puree running through this dessert.

Yauatcha definitely gets my vote! It is an amazing place and the food was absolutely wonderful! Dining at Yauatcha, we got to sample new tastes and items. All of which impressed me thoroughly!

Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0DL

Rating: ★★★★★

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