Culture / Restaurants

Houston’s Most-Anticipated New Restaurant Opens with a Waiting List

5 Things to Know About Yauatcha

BY // 03.29.17

Fifteen months ago, one of the most intense restaurant waiting games commenced as posh dim sum teahouse Yauatcha revealed it would soon take up roots at Houston’s Galleria.

The famous restaurant — a product of the acclaimed fine dining and lifestyle company Hakkasan Group — has made international waves since its London inception in 2004, earning a coveted Michelin star within a year of its opening. More than 10 years later, there are two Yauatcha restaurants in London, four in India and now two American outposts (Yauatcha Waikiki opened in February).

For more than one year, we watched as the vacant space next to Miami transplant The Webster, transformed into a sleek culinary destination. Houstonians anxiously waited as Waikiki, Hawaii kicked off Yauatcha’s United States expansion, but as the old adage says, “anything worth having is worth waiting for.” And so we waited … and waited.

Now with Yautacha’s Houston debut here, the restaurant is poised to take the city by storm, promising an unmatched dining experience comprised of contemporary dim sum, a complementary teahouse, and in-house patisserie.

“At Yauatcha we seek to blend fresh ingredients with classic techniques to create new taste sensations that will delight the palate,” executive chef Ho Chee Boon says. “We have crafted the Yauatcha Houston menu to reflect its refreshingly diverse local culture and rich culinary heritage.”

We’re marking Yauatcha Houston’s opening today with five highlights we can’t wait to sip, see, and taste.

Innovative dim sum takes center stage at Yauatcha as Chef Boon injects whimsical flair into the traditional Chinese small plates featuring everything from basic dumplings and puffs to shui mai and cheung fun.

While dim sum serves as a major menu highlight, Yauatcha also offers sizable dishes of duck, fish, and noodle renditions.

We’re looking forward to Yauatcha’s five can’t-miss specialties: The scallop shui mai topped with orange tobiko caviar; prawn and crispy beancurd cheung fun served with a sweet soy sauce; a sweet and sticky venison-filled pastry puff topped with sesame seeds; Chinese-style Jasmine tea-smoked pork ribs; and stir-fry Malaysian kwetio noodle with prawn, scallop and peanut.

Tea is a traditional component of dim sum service. Yauatcha takes this custom to the next level with 24 varieties from Five Mountains Heirloom Organic Tea including a custom blend utilizing locally sourced grapefruit rinds, which is exclusive to the Houston location. Each tea can be paired to complement the myriad of dim sum flavors.

The Scandinavian Scarlet with Krogstad aquavit, Thai basil, ginger, beet juice, white balsamic vinegar, lemon and egg white

Dim sum and tea aren’t Yauatcha’s only specialties. Guests are greeted with an in-house patisserie upon entry, which is chock full of breathtaking treats designed by Hakkasan Group’s executive pastry chef Graham Hornigold. Snag an order of macarons or petits gateaux during dinner service, or pick up your favorite dessert to-go.

Yauatcha’s cocktail program also promises a unique mix of drinks, featuring everything from teas and herbs to fresh fruit. Houston’s exclusive libation? The Desert Essence, a mix of Mexican Sotol, aloe vera liqueur, hibiscus, sage, dill, lime, and cane sugar.

Paris-based design firm GBRH transformed the 10,200 square-foot space into a pinnacle of chic feng shui. Shades of black, blue, red, yellow, and white help to create an upscale, yet harmonious atmosphere featuring an outdoor terrace, a sleek bar and dining lounge, and seating for 240 patrons.

An interactive dim sum bar also offers ideal seating for one.

While Yauatcha still has not made its official debut, the highly anticipated restaurant has already garnered 2,000 reservations. A new socialite hotspot perhaps? We think so, especially given its upscale digs and prime location.

To entertain its buzzing evening crowd, the restaurant will also feature a nightly DJ from 6 pm on Thursdays through Saturdays.

Home, chic home.

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