Review: Business meets pleasure at Yauatcha Riyadh
Yauatcha is a staple on the business lunch circuit, and you can see why…
Step inside this restaurant within Al Faisaliah mall and be transported into an ornate oriental setting. Yauatcha Riyadh boasts authentic Chinese delicacies like dim sum, roast duck and more.
Now that it has relaunched its business set lunch menu, we can’t imagine straying far the next time we need a quietly impressive spot for a business tete-a-tete.
Head Chef Stanley Lum’s time-honoured cuisine provides a fascinating focus for when office small-talk runs dry, and the restaurant’s scenic terrace and comfortable perches simply invite long, languorous lunches.
We came with a recommendation to try the ‘Lily’ set menu. The menu is aimed at those taking a lunch break from work and has been designed for a quick turnover with a satisfying three-course meal.
However, for those who are more interested in enjoying the food and conversation, rather than having to worry about the time, fret not; you have a place here, too.
A taste of Lily
Things started off beautifully. It always does at Yauatcha. We were served a complimentary mocktail, made up of apple, lemon juice and basil. It is basically an alternative take on the mojito, which swaps the mint for muddled basil, but it’s definitely in a league of its own.
Our opening appetiser features three types of steamed dim sums, made pearlescent and shimmering. Served in a bamboo steamer basket, it consists of siu mai with flying fish roe, har gow (shrimp dumpling), and wild mushrooms dumpling, wrapped in emerald petals and topped with yam cubes.
Yauatcha’s dazzling dim sums need no introduction. The reason why this restaurant has always been our go-to for dim sums in Riyadh is the great quality – the dumpling skins are thin yet sturdy and perfectly translucent. It’s hard not to fall in love with these little parcels of joy.
For the main course, there is a choice of wok-tossed tiger prawns or sweet and sour chicken. The chicken is the more impressive of the two, with its crispy texture and the perfect combination of sweet and sour flavours.
The classic dish is elevated further with pomelo pulps and pomegranate seeds to add a fresh, tart contrast to the meat. It goes especially well with the accompanying bok choy with garlic, which we recommend over the plain steamed rice.
Whilst the prawns are big and succulent, the dish could do with more wok-hei (for the uninitiated, this technique involves heat, lots of heat…) for a bit of extra flavour and depth.
We then indulged in Yauatcha’s signature macarons for dessert. You’ll get a random selection of flavours, but the cookies and cream, and mandarin and orange were incredibly rich fillings.
The ‘Lily’ three-course menu comes highly recommended, while impressive service, consistent food, and the quality of the tea list cement the restaurant’s excellent reputation.
Innovative creations, classic recipes
If you’ve also got space (and time), then do take the rest of the menu for a spin.
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The crispy duck salad with pine nuts, pomelo and pomegranate is lovely. Don’t even get us started on the shredded duck – it has a crisp skin of unbearable moreishness. There is also the simple pleasure of its black pepper beef.
And of course, do try the desserts. The patisserie section at Yauatcha has as much artistry as the dim sums it offers. A new range of petits gateaux has also been introduced, which includes the blueberry cheesecake and the pistachio yoghurt sphere on shortbread cookie.
Enjoy them with the mellow Lung Ching Imperial tea; it’ll give you a reason to linger at Yauatcha just a little longer…
Yauatcha Riyadh, Mode Al Faisaliah, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Rd, Al Olaya, Riyadh 11433. The Lily business set lunch menu is priced at SAR120 per person and is available every Sunday to Thursday, from noon to 4pm. Tel: 9200 06555. @yauatchariyadh