The first Yum Cha opened two years ago in Central, with branches soon popping up in TST and Mongkok. During that time, Yum Cha has become one of our go-to spots for its Chinese dishes with a modern twist, especially dim sum. Our Instagram feeds are filled with shots of their signature piggy buns and oozy custard buns.
This fourth branch across from Times Square in Causeway Bay couldn’t be better positioned. It boasts the same modern, sleek decor as the other three eateries, with brass, rosewood and brick accents, an open kitchen and a stunning spotlit bar taking centre stage.
The Insta-worthy dim sum we’ve come to know and love at Yum Cha is still the mainstay of the menu, along with some typhoon shelter cuisine that is exclusive to the Causeway Bay branch. Back in the day, typhoon shelters in Causeway Bay, Aberdeen and Lei Yue Mun were popular dining hubs, where diners floated on sampans and feasted on garlic- and chilli-laden seafood dishes: it was fun, down and dirty and, above all, delicious. We’re excited that these nostalgic local dishes are being revived – there’s nothing like a blast from the past.
For our tasting, a flurry of small appetisers arrived first. Our hands-down favourite was the spicy peanut chicken ($69 for regular portion), which was slow-cooked to perfection, showcasing tender and juicy meat in a savoury and delicately spicy sauce.
Much more fiery were the assorted mushrooms ($49) studded with Sichuan peppercorns; we couldn’t stop picking at these throughout the meal (we dare you to eat just one). The oh-so-pretty orange winter melon ($49) was light and refreshing with a lovely, crunchy bite, but we can’t say the same about another unique small plate – the pomegranate and curly kale ($59). The kale looked more like thin cucumber shreds, and it had a strangely bitter, medicinal taste.
Another healthy vegetarian starter that we did enjoy was the mixed veggie jelly ($59), which was beautifully presented in a style more akin to a French fine dining restaurant.
The Cantonese sponge cake with preserved bean curd ($49 for a generous serving in an oversized retro glass jar) was the surprise hit from the dim sum portion of the menu. We loved the cheesy consistency the bean curd imparted, along with a subtle (not at all stinky!) sweetness.
We weren’t as enamoured with the restaurant’s signature ‘tached-up peanut papa buns ($49), which we found too heavy and rich for our tastes. They’re definitely cute though!
The veggie porcini dumplings ($49) were packed with fungi flavour in a vibrant green wrapper.
Almost too flavourful for us were the mentaiko rice rolls ($69), which we found overly fishy, but we’re sure fish roe lovers would beg to differ.
The kitchen came into its own with the arrival of the typhoon shelter dishes. The fisherman crab congee (market price) was a pure Chinese comfort-food delight, cooked in a hearty fish broth and served with all the traditional accoutrements.
We also enjoyed the delicious simplicity of the fried noodles with crab oil ($119) with its fine wok hei and the homey flavours of the steamed egg with clams ($129) – just perfect with a bowl of plain rice.
The Yum Cha seafood platter (market price) was a showstopper: a massive basket filled to the brim with an almost insane amount of fresh-off-the-boat seafood, from mantis shrimp, to scallops, to razor clams, all seasoned with generous amounts of fried garlic and chilli bits.
To wind down, the drunken chocolate ping pong ($49) – we couldn’t detect any alcohol flavour – was our favourite of the sweets. It’s hard to go wrong with molten chocolate bursting from a sesame-coated sticky-rice shell.
The mango sago with cotton cloud ($49) was certainly eye-catching – blue, cola-flavoured candyfloss, anyone? – but the taste and texture of the mango sago didn’t match up. We prefer our mango sago in classic Cantonese cold-soup style with shreds of pomelo; Yum Cha’s version is dense and gelatin-like.
Another hit for the Yum Cha chain, which has become synonymous with tasty, quirky, affordable dim sum in a buzzy, contemporary setting. We really, really like the typhoon shelter additions to the Causeway Bay menu, paying tribute to the local culture and cuisine of days gone by.
2/F, Emperor Watch and Jewellery Centre, 8 Russell Street, Causeway Bay, 2323 1288
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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