Stretching across one bendy swathe of multi-storey foodie development Broadgate Circle, the City branch of the Cantonese chain looks a bit like an extremely glamorous spaceship. Designed as one very long room, it creates the illusion, as you walk through, of going on for ever. Obviously it doesn’t: there’s a flowery garden at each end for smoking in. But on our visit, that sense of unreality was heightened by the fact that the hoarding hiding the building site opposite was papered over with fake sky.
As in life, the best bit was over before we really knew it was happening: Yauatcha’s sublime venison puffs – tiny parcels of intensely caramelly pastry stuffed with rich, dark meat. Crab dumplings were juicy and translucent, while plump scallop shumai were so wonderfully slippery we actually dropped one. Other plates underwhelmed: hand-pulled noodles were unexpectedly thin, basically your-average-Chinese-takeaway standard; and Yauatcha’s speciality jasmine ribs came dry and caked in a gummy red jelly.
There’s a bakery downstairs serving fancy French-Asian patisserie. You can order these to be served at your table (staff are polite and accommodating) and you cannot leave without eating the chocolate pebble: a smooth globe of brownie, crunchy cocoa nibs and squirty chocolate liquid. It’s possible to eat extremely well here, if you mostly stick to dim sum and puds. Much like that papery, building-site sky, the mains looked swisher than they actually were.