This is part 3 in a 4 part series – a review of 4 very different Foodie Fridays in Dubai.

Friday – Week 3 Yum Cha Brunch at Yuan

As soon as I saw the trolley laden with Dim Sum wicker baskets in the restaurant at Yuan I was transported back to my trip to China where I spent three weeks happily touring and exploring with the aid of my trusty backpack a set of chopsticks and my trusty Lonely Travel Guide (not that you need your own chopsticks, I just like having my own cutlery when I’m backpacking, it’s one of my quirks).

Yum Cha is a chinese style morning or afternoon tea which involves drinking chinese tea and eating dim sum dishes which are traditionally both sweet and savoury. When I travelled, I remember being fascinated at Yum Cha and how no matter where you are in China you can always get Yum Cha served in a host of steaming wicker baskets.

Yum Cha at Yuan is a brunch with a difference.  For a fixed price of 188 AED (a lucky Chinese number) you can select as many dishes as you want from the Dim Sum trolley as well as to order dishes from the Yum Cha menu too.  The dim sum were elegantly presented and flavourful and free flowing to our table and the topic of some interesting discussions at the table as we eyed up other peoples dishes, swopped and sampled, and reordered our favourites, sometimes more than once (I loved the steamed scallop dumpling and steamed seafood tart and adored the crispy duck and pumpkin puff).  As if this isn’t enough, think tummies full and contented sighs, you can also order dishes such as Chicken Clay pot with chilli and garlic which we sampled as well as rice, noodle and salad dishes too – giving you plenty of choice, plenty of passing dishes along the table and some more groans as our tummies expanded a bit more.

The food is beautifully presented, fragrant, and “fine dining dim sum” (or should I say Yum Cha) which delights you in so many ways, not only in taste, ambience and venue but also for the shared dining experience and on the pocket as it’s incredibly good value.  All of this is accompanied with a free flowing choice of tea or soft drinks, a perfect authentic pairing to this elegant fine dining Yum Cha experience at a bargain price, in fact, we had to check the price a few times just to check it was right.  I should mention, dessert is also included in the price, but sadly I had no room to indulge.  Next time for sure 🙂

If Yum Cha isn’t your thing, then I highly recommend dining off the A La Carte menu which is based on Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine with a contemporary/fusion twist.  The food is superb as is the venue.  Chef Tan delivers food which showcases the best of China and then adds a twist.  For example order Sweet & Sour Chicken and it comes with honey, pineapple, pear, zucchini and peppers which on one hand sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does and it works well.  My personal favourite (and that of the table) of the evening was the wok seared wagyu ribeye steak with sautéed vegetables and Jin lan sauce which was succulent, rich and sticky and somewhat moreish.

I should add that the cocktails they serve here are pretty amazing too, not only in taste but in presentation too, making them seem that little bit more extra special.  Being shaken and poured for you at the table makes the experience much more engaging and the staff are incredibly knowledgeable about the drinks and to help you chose.  The plum martini was a big hit on our table.

Both times I’ve visited Yuan I’ve met Executive Chef Jeff Tan, formerly of Hakkasan Mayfair who is proud to explain his signature dishes to you and delighted to talk about chinese food in this beautiful restaurant location.  The restaurant is designed to feel like an inner courtyard with large family style circular booths, intimate dining spaces and a huge table on a raised platform for group dining.

Yum Cha is served every Friday between at Atlantis (no need to bring your own chopsticks !!)  You can also pop in for bar food and a drink too as well as for full dinner.  Yuan is a great addition to the Atlantis portfolio of restaurants.

The great thing about a non alcoholic brunch is that the afternoon is free for other activities and so after my brunch, with a comfortably full tummy, I headed back closer to home for a relaxing facial and a massage before heading out to dinner at a friends place for a BBQ dinner as it’s the perfect time to be dining outside just now.

I visited with my good foodie friend Ishita who writes at IshitaUnblogged, you can read her review here

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