Yauatcha, of Soho London and Michelin star fame, has been on the Bangalore scene for nearly three years now. It’s location, on what I think of as the “restaurant floor” of the 1MG Road Mall, means that good food and some shopping can go hand in hand, any time of the day! June is the month of the two millennial old Duanwu aka Tuen Ng aka Dragon Boat Festival, which Yauatcha is celebrating with a month-long food festival featuring the specialty dish of the festival – Zongzi – sticky rice and meat/veggies wrapped in bamboo leaves. Eating Zongzi, racing dragon boats, drinking a special rice wine (Realgar wine or Xionghuang wine) and mingling with family and friends – that’s what the festival boils down to, whether celebrated on the mainland (China), Hong Kong, Taiwan or anywhere else, for that matter.
It was thus befitting that the first Saturday of June saw me there with two gal pals, ready to eat, drink and be merry. The special festival menu features six varieties of Zongzi, as well as a cocktail (Citrus Spritz, a concoction of vodka, dry vermouth, lime, Chandon Brut) and a dessert (Wine-soaked water chestnut and mango cake with Sauvignon sorbet). Between the three of us, we tried all six of the rice balls wrapped in lotus leaves – four non vegetarian and two vegetarian, ranging in price from 295 (for the chicken) to 550 for the more “exotic” pork belly and shiitake mushroom. There was also chicken and prawn, edamame and mock duck (which I liked but my dining companions did not – mock meat isn’t everyone’s cuppa), chicken and prawn, and pine nuts and lamb. A couple of the aforementioned options also had nuts – one had cashew and another peanuts.
We all tried the festival cocktail for the first round and chose something different for seconds – I went back to my favored cocktail, the Yauatcha classic of lychee, oolong tea and lemongrass with vodka, the Lalu. We also had a couple of baskets of dim sum off the regular menu, as well as a delicious Penang style old town prawn noodle. We rounded off the meal with the festival dessert, which looked pretty as a picture and had the light flavors and consistency/textures that I’ve come to associate with Asian desserts. The festival is on until the 30th of June, and is available all day. The consensus at our table was that it would be hard to make a meal of just the Zongzi, so order a couple to try (cause they are really good!) and then snag a few more items off the main menu. Chī hǎo hē hǎo!