Yam ‘Tcha is a fairly small place (25 seats) that greets you with a cup of welcome tea. There are many Asian overtones to the interior as well as food. Chef Adeline Grattard spent time in kitchens in both Paris and Hong Kong. The food is precise and very good. It is a fairly casual and draws a youthful crowd. They have been in business for about 8 years ago, but only moved to this location 2 years ago. Excellent service people who all spoke great English made everyone feel very welcome. They all seemed to really like working there and water glasses never went dry, wine was poured when needed and pacing was near perfect. When a staff works this well (attended to details but never felt hovering) it’s hard not to like the place – a good vibe.
One unique thing I found was the napkins that were a lovely smooth linen on one side but the other side had some texture – genius for keeping it on your lap instead of on the floor. Tables are polished wood and seating is in many configurations but all tables are fairly well spaced, comfortable with a low noise and light level. We were there for Sat. when they only offer a full tasting menu for lunch and dinner. They have wine pairings as well as tea pairings.
The tasting started with raw tuna with Chinese mustard and noodles as well as numerous vegetables. It didn’t work well for me with it having a slightly metallic taste and the visual sesame seeds not standing up in the dish. The accompanying crispy roll was crisp and tasty.
White and green asparagus with a sauce of kumquat, lemon and herbs were next with the white being slightly caramelized on the outside. It was outrageously good! The green was fine too but the carmelizing process really brought out the flavor and added a neat texture. Another fun feature was serving on different color plates – both worked well but I preferred the yellow. An excellent dish.
Langoustine was sitting in the juice made from the shells and it held amazing depths of flavor. It was plated with greens, a hint of spice, something chewy in the greens and XO sauce. This plate was a real winner great flavors and textures – a ‘lick the plate’ dish.
Turbot was plated with fresh mushrooms, lomo (Spanish sausage), a foie gras emulsion and sabayon sauce. It just kept getting better and better. The perfectly cooked fish was mild until mixed with the huge bursts of flavor brought by the sauces. The raw mushrooms were an interesting addition and I really liked what they added to the dish. Another ‘lick the plate’!
Saddle of lamb was plated with red variegated chicory, pomegranate and fermented soy beans. It was seasoned with ginger and pepper for a nice spiciness. This plate had a lot of flavors and textures to enjoy – a good one.
A bao bun was stuffed with stilton cheese. It was gooey, yummy and totally delicious. I could have downed a dozen!
Prunes with lemon was served with a champagne granita. Something around the prunes had a unpleasant, bitter essence, but I loved that she served prunes – a nice change from chocolate. It was okay but I admit I was still savoring the flavor of the bao.
Moorpark apricots were served with vanilla ice cream and some crispy, cake-like stuff. It was accented with crispy toasted hazelnuts. The apricots could have been more ripe so they didn’t add the expected perfume to the dish. Not an outstanding dessert but better than the prunes.
We finished with a grapefruit sorbet which was excellent and full of tart grapefruit flavor. I had a pear sorbet that was buttery great – smooth and wonderful.