Yum Yum Cha
30 October 2014
Yum Yum Cha, Select Citywalk mall, second floor, Saket, Delhi.
Open daily, 11am-11pm.
This tiny new eatery is home to big Asian flavours.
We’ve been fans of The Yum Yum Tree in the New Friends Colony Community Centre for as long as it’s been open. We’ve got the membership cards, we’re regulars on Tuesday nights (when the sushi is unlimited and the drinks are bottomless), and we’re now so familiar with the menu that we can place orders with our eyes closed. So imagine our utter delight when we learned that Varun and Prathna Tuli, the husband-wife proprietors behind our favourite Pan-Asian playground, just threw open another little outpost that’s much closer to home, in Saket’s Select Citywalk.
Yes, it’s in a mall, and they’ve forsaken the cavernous space of the Tree in favour of a more compact space on the second floor of this bustling shopping centre, but guys, there’s sashimi, so all is forgiven. Playfully outfitted in origami art, with a bright contemporary canteen vibe, Yum Yum Cha’s retained the Greatest Hits of the old Yum Yum menu (never fear, the beef bulgogi is here), but added a new slew of easy-ordering bowls and plates, all destined to be hits we think.
Start with a DIY dimsum platter; we sampled our old favourites, the crystal duck parcels, with their lovely centre of spicy, treacly, hoisin-flavoured bird, the chicken and water chestnut which had a satisfying crunch, and the spinach and prawn rolls. So far so fresh.
The sushi menu is extensive, but we rate the hanna rolls highest, with salmon, tuna, cucumber and avocado all coiled into a slippery mouthful. The sushi is competitively priced, with four nigiri rolls for Rs 385 and three fat sashimi slices for the same price, so we’ll definitely be back for lunch, dinner, and pre-film meals.
Their hotpots are good appetite-whetters, arriving at the table appropriately steamy, to be served over little noodle bowls. However, we’d probably skip the kimchee hotpot (Rs 585) next time; it was bolstered with seafood aplenty and hunks of tofu, but was a touch too tomato-ey for us. Our eyes are firmly on one of their sticky rice bowls for our next visit. We tried their takoyaki (Rs 385 for six), lovely fried, cheesy, octopus-stuffed Japanese dumplings that are the ultimate bar snack. Unfortunately there’s no bar menu in place just yet, but we washed these deep-fried dumplings, creamy with just a bit of chew, down with generous bottles of Thai orange and kaffir lime mocktails (Rs 185).
We’ve yet to sample the full menu of paper hot pots, but we’re holding out until winter hits. Until then, there’s mochi ice cream to help you wind down, cold orbs of ice cream coated in sticky mochi. The gluey texture of the pounded sticky rice coating isn’t for everyone, but one of The Yum Yum Tree’s biggest hits was their cheesecake, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s on the menu as well.
So is it Chinese, or Japanese? Korean or Thai? Well, obviously, it is a little bit of everything. And while the Tuli’s newest outpost might only be a little branch, compared to its older sibling’s sprawling Tree, the expansive menu demands both experimentation as well as repeat visits. Challenge accepted.