'Yum Cha' in Sheung Wan is a modern dum sum restaurant that shuns the use of MSG. The chefs aim to present updated versions of traditional yum cha dishes whilst staying true to their roots and serving authentic Chinese flavours. It is centrally located on Des Voeux Road close to Sheung Wan MTR Station (exit E3). There is also a branch in TST.
The slightly kitch half-truck at the entrance resembles a food truck and separates the take-away area from the main dining room. It doubles as a playground for the younger patrons of the restaurant.
Inside the restaurant, the decor is an quirky mix of French bistrot versus warehouse loft with leather booths, gold metal-rimmed mirrors and large exposed ducts and copper pipes on the ceiling. Light streams in from the floor-to-ceiling glass windows and there were plenty of tables so getting in at the last-minute wasn't a problem. The seats were comfortable and there was ample space between us and the next table.
'Yum Cha' Dining Room is decorated in bronze, copper, grey and gold. The colour scheme was subtle but the acoustics were noisy when the restaurant got busy.
The tick-box sheet made ordering easy. Our party of four ended up over-ordering because our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and everything sounded tempting.
Food is served as it is cooked and came in a somewhat random order. The Green Beans with Chilli Pork arrived first. The beans were slightly crunchy and the chilli pork on top finished the dish to perfection.
The mouth-watering Green Beans with Chilli Pork. They were cooked just right and the seasoning was spot on.
Up next was the Salt and Pepper Squid which was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside but was altogether too salty. I was disappointed as this is one of my go-to dishes in every Chinese restaurant I dine in.
Salt and Pepper Squid was well-cooked but they overdid it on the salt.
Continuing on our fried food journey, the chicken spring rolls were next. Spring rolls usually have pork in them so these were unusual but not in a bad way. They were crispy on the outside and the filling was nice and gooey on the inside which is how I like them.
Chicken Spring Rolls. They were appetising but I still think my Mum's are better as she uses pork which intensifies the flavour.
The pretty-as-a-picture Beetroot with Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice arrived after a short break. The addition of beetroot to this classic dish sounds as strange as it tasted. However, each individual component was well cooked and the beetroot added a resplendent, if slightly disconcerting hue to the rice.
The Beetroot with Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice looked vivid but the flavour confused the palate
By this time we were filling up but the dishes kept coming. We managed to find room for the Sesame Chicken Rice Noodle Salad which was in a word, heavenly. The translucent noodles were springy and smothered in sesame oil and the finely shredded veggies added good texture.
Sesame Chicken Rice Noodle Salad had an umami flavour and a satisfying bite. I'd order it again.
Each dish was presented beautifully and some like the Three Little Pigs were so cute I nearly couldn't bring myself to bite into them. After nibbling away at the ears I took the plunge and was rewarded with a sweet yet savoury filling inside a delightfully soft bun.
The BBQ Piggy Buns aka 'Char Siu Bau' were not only pleasing on the eye but on the palate too.
Initially attentive, the service waned a bit when the restaurant filled up. We had some trouble getting the bill. However our waitress was friendly throughout the whole service and diligent in topping up our tea with hot water.
We ordered two separate teas, the Toasted Buckwheat Green Tea and Chrysanthemum Tea (caffeine-free). The Toasted Buckwheat had a deep, intense flavour which was too strong for me but others liked it. The Chrysanthemum Tea was light and delicate.
Yum Cha is a fun place to meet friends for a weekend lunch because the food is playful, the atmosphere pleasant, prices are reasonable and the facilities are clean.
For those inspired by the dumpling dishes they've eaten, the restaurant holds regular dim sum cooking classes. Lessons are followed by afternoon yum cha where everyone feasts on their creations. The cost for adults is HK$550 and for children 6-12 years old is HK$350. For more information click here.