Post the year 2000, Shopping malls in India made a huge appearance and the weekend panorama for the public changed in a dramatic way where everyone started to spend a major amount of their free time in Shopping malls around their respective cities. Restaurateurs took notice of the phenomena and started opening their fine dining restaurants within mall locations and soon malls started to be known for the restaurants that they showcased.
Phoenix Market City in Kurla is one such example. The massive mall boasts of many branded restaurants, one of them being Yum Cha Vie which is located at a prime location on the ground floor of the mall. The one thing that caught my attention was the massive size of the place – an open area surrounded by a bamboo picket and a covered area with regular tables as well as low height lounge style sofa seating, the sheer size of the place can make any other restaurant green with envy. However, despite the prominent location and massive size, the restaurant was quite empty at dinner time on a Thursday evening.
The manager of the restaurant was very prompt at greeting us and welcoming us to our table and was happy to suggest a few dishes for us to start with. We settled on a Lobo Kai Thong (Clear Cilantro and Chicken Soup – Rs. 200) and a Veg Wonton Clear Soup (Rs. 190), even though the Kai Thong was termed as clear, it was a cloudy dense soup where the minced chicken was added towards the end so the soup had an individual flavour and the minced chicken was cooked just right. I quite liked the flavours even though it wasn’t quite CLEAR enough to my definition. The Veg Wonton Clear soup however was a very ordinary broth; it could have certainly used some more natural flavouring of vegetables.
For starters we tried the Tofu Tsaingi (Rs. 200) and Kung Pao Chicken (Rs. 250). One of my biggest peeves with Chinese restaurants around town is that many of them try to pass Paneer as Tofu to the unaware public. I was extremely happy to see that Yum Cha Vie was an exception and indeed their Tofu dishes used proper Tofu, the only disappointment though, being, that the tofu itself was a bit hard and dense (Unlike the soft and silky Tofu that I had imagined in my mind). The Kung Pao Chicken on the other hand was quite nice, good balance of spice and tanginess, the nuttiness of the cashews being a welcome addition. The two starters went well with the accompanying Mojito (Rs. 450) and regular beer. Perfect dishes to be ordered if you just want to catch some snacks and drinks during their happy hours.
No visit to a tea-room is complete without trying the Dim Sums (Though Yum Cha Vie literally means a tea room; it serves Chinese food which is quite Indianized in its flavours, perhaps to cater to the local taste). Hoping that the Dimsums would be authentic enough to keep up to the tea room tastes, we ordered a Veg Yum Cha Vie-Sou Lung (Rs. 200) and a Har Gaw Prawns (Rs. 300). The Dim sums were translucent in their appearance which made me quite happy but the bite into the Har Gaw Prawns dropped all my expectations as I found it to be quite street-like, with a little trepidation I tried the Sou Lung and perhaps that was the moment which defined my entire evening’s experience. The Sou Lung took me to a journey up north all the way to Mussoorie where I felt as If I was sitting in Kalsang’s having their Devils Chicken Momos, only better!! Soft Veg Dimsums floating in a very flavorful soya based savoury soup.
For main course we tried the Chicken in Spicy Black Bean Sauce (Rs. 250) and Vegetables in Celery Wine Sauce (Rs.220) along with Burnt Garlic Fried Rice (Rs. 230), While the chicken in spicy black bean sauce was very well made and the spiciness adjusted as per my request, the Vegetables in Celery wine sauce was very ordinary with celery pieces in wine sauce not contributing much to the dish’s flavours. The star however in this trio was the burnt garlic fried rice which had the right flavours, textures and consistency required from good fried rice.
Yum Cha vie also boasts of a small menu (5 varieties) of Tea/infusions, I wish they had more varieties to live up to their name. We tried the Lonhjing Green Tea (Rs. 120) which we found to be mild and flavourful and quite apt as a digestive tea at the end of an intensive meal.
All in all, Yum Cha Vie needs to work on its menu a little to include a few dishes which stand out as its USP on their menu. Add a few more varieties of tea/infusions and market itself as more of a TEA ROOM rather than just another Indo-Chinese restaurant round the block or else it would disappear in the myriad of other restaurants around the mall.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 3.0 | Ambience: 3.5 | Service: 3.0 | Overall: 3.0
Meal for two: Rs. 1500 (Without Alcohol) Rs.2000 – Rs.2500 (With Alcohol)| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 11.30AM to 9:30 PM (Weekends) and 1200 noon to 11.30 PM Mon to Fri|
Address: Yum Cha Vie, 73 & 74, Phoenix Market City, LBS Road, Kurla, Mumbai | Tel: 022 30932030 ext:262