Browsing Tag

alan yau

London, Restaurants

Naamyaa Cafe – Angel, London

Since trying kanom jin noodles at Thai Vanduke, I’ve been looking forward to trying more authentic Thai dishes at Naamyaa Cafe, Alan Yau’s new all day dining modern Bangkok cafe in Angel.  It was a chance passing on a cold night that led me to Naamyaa on its second night open and the soft opening discount of 50% off food was a welcome surprise.

Designed by David Archer, Naamyaa Cafe is colourful, bright and expansive with three separate open-plan dining areas and a central bar with high seats.  The concept is a more accessible, day-focused sister restaurant to Busaba Eatthai, offering traditional Bangkok specialities alongside a few Western dishes.

The menu is full of tempting dishes such as their signature Naamyaa Goong, stir-fry chicken with asparagus and rice, red beef curry, prawn kanom jin noodles, Tom Yam prawn soup, green papaya salads, Thai chive cakes and some tasty-looking burgers.

I ordered the Chicken Laksa (£8.50), which arrived at the table within five minutes or so.  The spicy soup was rich, fragrant and comforting, with plenty of crushed peanut and dried shrimp.  It came served in a big bowl with medium-thick rice noodles, large pieces of grilled chicken, bubbly tofu, half a soft boiled egg, sweet potato crisps, fresh beansprouts, crunchy pickled vegetables and lots of fresh coriander.

It was authentic, delicious and very, very hot – perfect for keeping away winter colds.  I particularly liked that the noodles were on the firmer side and the chicken was high quality and plentiful.  My only criticism was that I found a small chicken bone in the laksa, but understandably this was during the soft opening period and I was told that my feedback would be passed on to the chefs, to avoid in the future.

If I hadn’t already started with a few canapes at an event earlier, I would have grazed on a few side dishes and brought a dining partner to try more of the menu.  My solo visit was completely unplanned, but I felt comfortable enough in Naamyaa on my own with my magazine and even had a chat with the staff and two businessmen sat next to me.

I was sat directly in front of the cakes, so of course I treated myself to a slice of Pandan Chiffon Cake (£3).  I discovered this light, heavenly cake in Singapore and brought a big box of it back home – luckily the airport has a very good, affordable cake shop before check-in.  Naamyaa’s Pandan Chiffon Cake is authentic and a real treat, as I haven’t come across it in many London restaurants.  My Singaporean chiffon cake was impossibly light and silky, making it hard to replicate, but Naamyaa’s was excellent and well-balanced.

Other desserts include pandan and coconut jelly and coconut and pomegranate tapioca pudding, to be matched with some interesting and well-priced teas.

Naamyaa Cafe is a great addition to Islington and has all the makings of a popular boutique chain.  The food is excellent and reasonably priced, staff are warm and friendly and the atmosphere is buzzing yet unpretentious.  I will definitely be back when I’m feeling nostalgic for Pandan Chiffon Cake.

For more info, visit: www.naamyaa.com

Photos by Naamyaa Cafe and Chérie City

Naamyaa Cafe on Urbanspoon

Afternoon tea, Bars, Cafes, London, Restaurants

Afternoon tea at Yauatcha

Earlier this week, the lovely Sheena Appadoo from Aramis invited me for afternoon tea at Yauatcha.  Sheena keeps me in delightful scents and replaced my summer daily staple of DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom with the richer, Autumnal DKNY Women limited edition scent in gold and bright purple – I’m addicted already!

Back to Yauatcha, I’d already tried the macaroons from their patisserie and my favourite is the champagne flavour embellished with goldleaf, but I was excited to sample ‘the full works’ in the tea room.

Yauatcha

The michelin starred dim sum restaurant and tea house, created by Alan Yau (he who launched Wagamama and Hakkasan) looks more like a boutique from the outside and is an oasis of calm with low seating, blossom-embroidered banquettes and blue-tinted facades half concealing the kitchen.

There are three types of afternoon tea available and we ordered the Oriental Afternoon Tea for one (£24.50) to share, which comes with a selection of dim sum instead of sandwiches.  I chose a pot of Darjeeling First Flush from a huge range of teas including blue, green, black and white tea.

The dim sum selection included a baked venison puff, char sui bun and scallop siu mai – the former two were tasty but unusually sweet. I’m always more excited about the cakes and they didn’t disappoint!  There was a layer of sweet sandwiches – a bright pink rasberry and lychee jelly filling packed between layers of fine sponge and one with vanilla sponge and bitter chocolate ganache.

Yauatcha

The top layer resembled a mini version of the patisserie counter and included a rich chocolate macaroon, a lemon and cola tartlet, chocolate chip marshmallow, chocolate financier, a piece of shortbread and a shot of apple and kiwi mousse.

Just as I had worked my way through the sugary layers, then came two mountainous scones (one Matcha green tea flavoured and one plain) with a tray full of oriental jams and mascarpone cream – I was defeated!  From other reviews, I’ve discovered that had we managed to wolf these down too, there were still flavoured marshmallows, mini chocolate slabs and truffles to come!

The service was unobtrusive and we were served at a steady pace, although this should be the case, as we went on a quiet weekday afternoon.

Yauatcha

The only criticism is that they won’t box up the left items to take away, due to ‘health and safety’.   At many afternoon tea establishments like Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley, they package up what you can’t eat for you to munch on at home. It’s no biggie though, just take a paper napkin with you and drop a scone or two into your handbag, in case you get peckish on the bus.

You can of course go to Yauatcha for a simple pot of tea and a cake from the patisserie, but the Oriental Afternoon Tea is perfect for sampling a little bit of everything in exquisite surroundings and believe me, it’s more than worth it!

Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, London W1F 0DL

Yauatcha on Urbanspoon