We See What We Want. (at The World.)
We See What We Want. (at The World.)
Let’s face it. Among the trash left from the markets stalls, the fabric stores and Soho bustle, Yauachta [ www.yauatcha.com ] with its blue and glass structure looks like a fishmongers. Or an aquarium. The latter is probably more suiting, given the pouting fish sitting inside. And I’m not talking about the real kind in Yauatcha’s own bar-length aquarium either.
// Upstairs entrance //
But one has to admit. The dumplings here are belly achingly good. Most people leave with a few notches of the belt down the looser end. Some have discarded it completely.
Yauatcha is one of my favourite places to eat in London. It’s got a Michelin star which it’s kept since 2005 and a safe haven for vegetarians.
The cocktail list ain’t bland and pretty grand. So you’re safe as a bee in honey with whatever you choose.
Then it’s on to the dumplings.
The signature dish at Yauatcha is the Venison Puff.
// Venison Puff //
I’ve broken my no-meat rule to try this delicacy and oh-my was it worth it. A flaky pastry encasing sweet - almost desert like venison that has been slow cooked. It’s really a treat.
// Wild Mushroom Dumpling //
The wild mushroom dumpling is a little bundle of joy. Earthy flavours encased in a soft pillow that only need a hint of chilli sauce.
// Sweet potato mushroom mei-si roll //
This is the least favourite of mine. I’m not a huge fan of all things deep fried. I just find the flavour is taken away by all the oil and over crispiness of the product. There was no distinct sweet-potato taste here at all.
// Prawn and bean curd cheung fun //
This is the WINNER! An amazing compilation of both chewy and crispy textures, sweet prawn and bean curd that has your chopsticks reaching out for more.
Next rolled out the desserts. As most Asian places, the desserts look great on Instagram, a little bland in taste.
// Chocolate hazelnut eclair //
The eclair shell was not quite chou pastry as it should have been. Meaning, it was probably sitting in the display cabinet for most of the day and had absorbed quite some moisture. The cream wasn’t luxurious and the best thing about this plate was the caramel sauce oozing from underneath the ice-cream. Or gelato. Whatever it was.
// Salted caramel //
Apart from being wrongly named, the salted caramel was also a disappointment. Laced with peanuts, there was a significant absence of both salt and caramel. The finger of cake was sponge layered with chocolate. Again, the best bit was the caramel sauce oozing form the scoop of ice-cream. Or gelato. Whatever it was.
The stand-out dessert was the Mandarin Macadamia cake, with dark chocolate. The signature Raspberry Delice was sold out.
The service is quick and pleasant. Despite tables being knock-the-neighbour close, the noise level is tame and you can hear your company without having to lean over the table.
// Downstairs bar //
Everyone looks great thanks to the low lighting and twinkling over head lights that look like the night sky.
// Downstairs interior //
Yauatcha makes great for both a date and mates place. Add a bottle of sake, a table of dumplings and you’ve got yourself a great night out.
So here’s some good news! My eating, drinking and blogging may have found itself a job!
After submitting a video for Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs in the World Competition [ https://bestjobs.australia.com ] I’m now down to the final 25 for the Taste Master role!
I need all the help and support I can get to show them I’m the best person for the job …
So, why should I be Taste Master?
More fun, perhaps cringe worthy facts to follow …
Au Levain du Marais, 28 boulevard Beaumarchais, 11th, metro: Bastille or Chemin Vert
Starting with the French basics; le croissant. The croissants here are flaky diamond shaped boats of pastry with flavour hits of toasted butter, sugar and salt. The shelf life of a croissant is four hours so don’t bother showing up after 10am, unless another batch has been kindly produced. Au Levain du Marais have the flaky-chewy ration just right and the buttery taste needs no jam. Just an appetite.
La Maison du Chocolat, 225 rue du Faubourg St Honore, 8th, metro: Ternes
Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it in dew, cover it in chocolate and a mircle or two? Well besides Willy Wonka, the chocolate artists at La Maison du Chocolat - the house of chocolate. Paris might not be the most famous of cities when it comes to this liquid gold but you can never control chocolate cravings based on the city you are in. So when they hit, this is the only place worth visiting. The teasingly tempting truffles come in flavours from cognac to mountain honey to cinnamon to pistachio to burnt caramel….watch out, you’re drooling.
La Maison du Chocolat
Pierre Herme, 72 rue Bonaparte, 6th, metro: Saint Sulpice
The tourists go to Laduree, the locals to Pierre Herme. That’s how Paris’ supply of macaroons get divided and stocks resist depletion. The flavours are constantly changing depending on the season and of course there are the signatures such as salted butter caramel, pistachio, vanilla and rose. But then you get choices such as white hazelnut truffle, lychee rose raspberry, pistachio cherry, chocolate yuzu….even olive oil and vanilla. Just a tip, total time spent queuing and deciding will out number minutes ever spent at a boxing day sale.
Le Loir dans la Theiere, 3 rue des Rosiers, 4th, metro: Saint Paul
“Oon tar-te o si-tron maron-gai’ - repeat and burn into memory. This is the only thing you need to say to the waitress at this artsy Marais cafe. The lemon meringue tart here is like no other. Hear those gasps and ahhs behind you? That’s the grand arrival of your cake as she floats over with a plate bearing an Everest of sweet meringue, smothering a tangy lemon filling and crumbly base. It’s so good it really should be illegal.
Le Loir dans la Theiere
Stohrer, 51 rue Montorgueil, 2nd, metro: Sentier or Etienne Marcel
Nicolas Stohrer invented the oh-so-sinful baba au rhum - a delicious yeasty cake soaked in rum, for the Polish King waaaaay back in the 18th century. Still soaking strong, get your piece of edible history at the oldest patisserie in Paris. With each bite the spongy brioche releases syrupy alcohol. It’s hard not to finish this little baba in less than a minute. Napkins for dribbles and spills advised.
Cafe Carette, 4 Place du Trocadero, 16th, metro: Trocadero
A chocolate smothered cloud of light choux pastry, obese with smooth vanilla creme that oozes into the corners of your mouth….oh yes, le eclair is a naughty little affair. Carette has a nice little courtyard overlooking the tres chic plaza of Trocadero where you can leisurely indulge in your treat. But take-away is recommended if over-ordering is to be avoided.
Berthillon, 29 rue Saint-Louis-en-I’ile, 4th, metro: Pont Marie
Make sure you’re in close proximity to a chair/table/sturdy object when taking that first lick of a Berthillon ice-cream. A shaky food orgasm will bam! knock you off your feet. There’s sixty flavours like praline amaretto, chocolate nougat and coco whiskey. They’re all natural, preservative free and freshly made without artificial sweeteners. Like everything else from cheese to champagne, the French have ice-cream etiquette. O
Ginger shots are the best way to get a fiery does of vitamins and minerals, beating winter sniffles and springtime puffinness. Add ginger to shakes and smoothies, cakes and bakes.
Hotels on the party island are plenty. Beds without bugs, bathrooms with water and a cleaner that actually works and isn’t on siesta every hour, are surprisingly scarce.
Here are my picks of the top hotels on the island of magic.
// Atzaro www.atzaro.com
This Balinese style hotel has two restaurants, a renowned spa, two pool areas, two bars and lots of hidden spots to lounge among fruit trees. Easily it can be named a resort. Located in the quiet and picturesque Ibiza country side in Sant Joan, don’t feel guilty if you never leave. Most people don’t. Famous restaurants such as Balafia and La Paloma are conveniently nearby.
// Hotel Hacienda www.hotelhacienda-ibiza.com
Perched on the northern cliffs, on a private estate Hotel Hacienda is the perfect lovers getaway. If you’re all elegant luxury then this is the nest for you. The guests here are hardly party goers unless it’s a private villa house party where the transport is arranged, so that should give you an idea of the Hacienda crowd.
For Girls / Boys Trips
// Ibiza Gran www.ibizagranhotel.com
Most Djs and their entourage stay here during the Ibiza summer season so if you plan on getting shut eye be wary that there may be an intimate after hours happening next door. The spa is the redeeming quality of the hotel for the pool area is quite average. Location is easy - Talamanca (and the Fish Shack…yum!) are a stones throw away and Cala Jondal is ten minutes by cab. Pacha is across the road and the hospital not much further down. You’ve got all your bases covered for a
wild friendly weekend.
// Ibiza Rocks www.ibizarocks.com
Formely Pikes, where George Michael filmed ‘Club Tropicana’. Flamboyant, brash with a touch of sequin trash - think London when the sun comes and there’s more vodka than lemonade in the Pimms jugs. Ibiza Rocks is an institution and still attracts the party crowd. If you’re a foreigner bring your English accent.
For Double Dates
// Can XuXu www.canxuxu.com
A boutique villa nestled in the quiet hills of San Jose, there are 12 rooms, breathtaking sunset views and Alex the host is just another of the list of reasons you should stay here. Dine in the nearby San Jose village wtih it’s quaint local restaurants before venturing out to hit the clubs. 15 minutes from the airport and close to Cala d’Hort where the famous island moonlight parties happen, holiday with friends without the responsibility and head ache of villa sharing.
// Les Terrasses www.lesterrasses.net
Romantic without being mushy, modest yet still elegant, Les Terrasses is a chic boutique hotel owned by the French. And we all know the French do love well. The restaurant is renowned for Tuesday Moroccan couscous. Clubs are still easy to get to and while it’s inland, being on a main road facilitates access to both the northern and western beaches.
// Giri Residence www.thegiri.com
A breakfast that serves cava? That’ll take the edge of family tensions. The residence is perfect for families to enjoy together without crazy parties and ravers nearby. Home style cooking served at communal tables are available in the restaurant and cafe, and all around views of lush green hills invite for an afternoon hike. Santa Gertrudis is nearby where both fashion and quirky home shopping in Sluiz will check the souvenir box.
// Agroturismo Can Gall www.agrocangall.com
Located on a working farm, the renovated 200 year old finca has family suites, bikes and plenty of outdoor activities. The hotels food is mostly from the nearby farms and the owner often throws barbecues for the guests with plenty of punch. Benirras is close by where a good dose of hippy culture is served up every Sunday.