Food

Take a bao!

TEMPTING DELICACIES Mochi ice cream

TEMPTING DELICACIES Mochi ice cream   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Delightful ambience and tasty Japanese cuisine make the recently opened Yum Yum Cha a haven for food lovers

Ever had mochi ice cream? Never even heard of it? Fret not, for a new restaurant near you serves this wonderful Japanese dessert that I must admit I was introduced to only a few years ago.

It started with a post by a young restaurateur that I think very highly of. Varun Tuli, earlier known for Yum Yum Tree in Friends’ Colony, had put up these most attractive images of colourful little dollops on a social media site. Turned out they were mochi ice cream, traditionally prepared with sticky rice, with red bean paste or custard inside.

I met mochi quite like an old friend at his new restaurant in Khan Market, called Yum Yum Cha, the other evening. The restaurant opened in Cyber Hub and Saket a little while ago, but I went to the just opened Khan Market outlet — and was, as you’d expect, floored.

The restaurant is beautifully done up, with colourful origami creations hanging from the ceiling. The menu has a collection of Japanese and pan-Asian dishes, and the chef, the manager and the young server all guided me ably through it.

Being a pork lover, I thought I should start with the pork belly and jus bao. Next on the agenda was a plate of six rice noodle rolls with spicy prawns. I was tempted by the sushi rolls but moved on to the main course — Japanese curry with crispy prawn and sticky rice and braised pork belly with steamed rice. And then, of course, there was mochi.

The bao was excellent, with succulent pieces of pork all dripping with juices. I enjoyed the soft rice noodle rolls, which had been doused with some light soya. The Japanese prawn curry was superb — you put some sticky rice in a bowl, top it with a light broth and then add crispy prawn balls to it. I found the pork pieces just a wee bit stringy, but the mildly sweet gravy was rather nice. And, all in all, the meal was delicious.

The mochi ice cream comes in various flavours, and we opted for blueberry and mango. Though I am not greatly fond of ice cream, these scoops were actually as good to eat as they were to look at — like most of Japanese cuisine.

By the way, the first ice cream in Japan was produced way back in 1869. Researchers say a scoop then cost an exorbitant amount of 25 yen, though the price plummeted to a yen or so in three decades.

Yum Yum Cha is full of young people, all having a good time. There is good reason for that: the place is cheerful, the food is great, and the rates are low for a Khan Market restaurant. For instance, a plate of two baos comes or ₹285, six rice noodle rolls with prawns are for ₹385 and a platter of eight sushi rolls costs ₹685. The hotpots are for ₹585 and eight slices of a Japanese pizza for ₹485.

Japanese pizza

Japanese pizza   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Gourmet food

Yet, the food is gourmet. The toppings on the pizzas, for instance, consist of tuna and truffle, of Peking duck and truffle pepper. Takoyaki, Japanese dumplings (₹385 for six pieces), have fillings of classic octopus, chicken and cheese and peppers. There is even carpaccio — traditionally served raw, but I think it is roasted here — and sashimi rolls of all kinds of fish and other ingredients.

The place beckons with all its lights winking alluring at you from one corner of Khan Market. The entrance is through the middle lane (closer from the Sham Di Hatti side). The address is Shop 69, First and Second Floor, Middle Lane, Khan Market (Tel nos: 011-41523030/011-41525050). I was invited, but the publicist tells me that a meal for two, without taxes, comes for ₹1800 or so. The place doesn’t have a bar licence yet.

Try it out. Young Tuli knows his onions — and his nori.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 2:08:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/take-a-bao/article19523200.ece

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