Yum Yum Tree by Varun Tuli is a fixture on Delhi's culinary landscape—and one of my favourites! So when I heard he has opened Asian casual restaurant Yum Yum Cha at Select City Walk Mall, I knew it would be a lucky throw of the dice for discerning foodies. When you've eaten the variety of foods that I have had the good fortune to do, you learn to discern the personality and skills of the restaurateur, and in this case it's his ability to perceive the nerve of evolving Pan-Asian cuisine. The menu doesn't come close to describing the intensity and authenticity of the flavours that await!
Walking in at 8 p.m. I observed that this intimate restaurant is designed well—its comfortable ambiance with bright tables for two and four and the Japanese origami (loved the butterfly installation on the ceiling!) makes it appealing. For this review, my friend suggested we begin with 'Nigiri Sushi Tree'—its branches laden with salmon and tuna, yellowtail and scallop, crab stick and barbecued eel! The sushi was fresh and flavourful and each bite just seemed to explode in the mouth with fresh flavours. Up next was a basket of assorted dim sums—the paper thin melt-in-the-mouth ‘little bundles of joy’ including Cristal Duck, Pink Crab, Prawn Curry and Waterchestnut—were better than I have had anyplace. Unusual and flavourful, to the extent that the five accompanying sauces were not required! I absolutely loved the cristal duck dumplings with a sweet-and-picante stuffing of duck and cherries with Hoisin sauce.
'Takoyaki' (Japanese dumpling) was an unexpected surprise as I had anticipated a bland flavour base and was pleasantly surprised by the creamy, flavourful chicken balls. It was perfectly pan-grilled to keep the moisture inside and exploded with flavour as I savoured ball after ball. PS The chef tried his best to convince me to opt for Octopus Takoyaki but failed! Sipping on ’Black Magic’ (cola with lime and ginger, garnished with mint, and served in a bottle), time flew by and our entree ’Sizzling Sticky Rice’ arrived in a granite bowl and was mixed at the table. The rice bowl was a hearty meal in itself. The shredded chicken, mushroom, fresh chives and corn kernels was blended in with fine sticky rice that absorbed the Sichuan sauce… it was that good!
We were stuffed and only able to try one of the dessert selections, which we shared. It was a dream confection on a plate—Mochi Ice Cream. The marshmallow base gave the ice-cream slow-chewing texture… you can't eat it fast so we savoured the chocolate and the coconut-jaggery ice-creams… it's enough to make you dizzy with delight! Kudos to the kitchen team for an outstanding culinary performance under the inspired leadership of Varun Tuli. As for me, the next visit will have to be soon! Bon Appetite. (25.11.2014)
— JASMEEN DUGAL
Yum Yum Cha, Second Floor, Select City Walk Mall, Saket, New Delhi