Year of the Monkey

Growing up in Malaysia meant celebrating almost every cultural festival under the sun and one of them happened to be Chinese New Year which is just around the corner!

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Chinese New Year is celebrated according to the lunar calendar and follows the Chinese zodiac which assigns a different animal to each year. This year is the Year of the Monkey! A mischievous sign, the monkey is clever, energetic and inventive as well as being sociable and funny. The year 2016 also corresponds with the element of fire, associated with brilliance, warmth, passion and spark.

Yauatcha is collaborating with Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin to celebrate this festival with an exclusive gin cocktail menu and a series of macarons inspired by the gin’s 47 botanicals. The lovely people at Yautcha invited me along to have a taste of their gin-inspired menu!

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There are two Yauatcha’s in London, one in the heart of the city (Soho) and the other in The City itself (Broadgate Circle). Both have very cool and zen interiors and you’re first welcomed by massive displays of pastries and cakes. 

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Upon arrival, we were presented with our first round of gin-based cocktails: Saffron Gin & Tonic. The good old G&T with a twist; a couple strands of saffron giving off a hint of fragrance.

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Then on to the starters: Foie Gras Roast Duck Puff, perfectly crispy on the outside, warm and delicately spiced on the inside! Mmmm

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Then arrived the Caviar Siew Long Bun, Caviar Taro Dumpling and Black Truffle Edamame Sesame Ball. You can never have enough caviar!

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The Caviar Taro Dumpling was surprisingly crunchy on the inside!

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The Caviar Siew Long Bun contains a light soup (how they managed to get that in there, I don’t know!) which oozes out as you bite into the bun.

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 Black Truffle Edamame Sesame Ball; you just can’t go wrong with truffle and edamame!

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Now THIS is the most impressive dish I have ever  seen! The Yauatcha Scallop Yusheng with Radish, Japanese Seaweed, Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Pumpkin and Mushroom which comes with Sea Conch Chinese Yam Soup. An explosion of colours!

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The waiter comes around to basically rip apart, throw around and completely mess up this beautiful creation. Luckily, it still tastes delicious! Fresh, raw scallops alongside crunchy, sweet and sour vegetables and fruits. One of the most unique dishes I’ve ever tasted.

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Next came the mains with another round of gin-based cocktails. The Hakka Fortune Pot with Prawn, Abalone, Dried Scallops, Roast Duck, Seabass, Lotus Root, Chinese Leaves and Mushroom with a side of Dried Oyster Fried Sticky Rice with Dried Shrimp. And of course, a refreshing glass of Pomelo Fortune: Gin, Velvet Falernum Liquer, Pomelo, Grapefruit, Grapefruit, Cranberry and Orange and Mandarin Bitters. Quite a mouthful!

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The seafood lover’s dream right there!

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The last course of the night was an array of macarons inspired by gin 47’s botanicals.

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Gin & Tonic, Juniper Berry, Bitter Orange Almond, Elderflower Ginger, Rose Rosehip & Camomile. All presented with the last cocktail of the evening: Pink Kumquat with Monkey 47 Sloe Gin, Diplomatico Reserva Rum, Domaine De Cantone Ginger Liqueur, Cranberries & Rice Syrup.

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One of the most festive meals I’ve ever had, the Chinese New Year menu will be on at both the Yautcha restaurants fro 25th January till 21st February.

If you’d like to just celebrate with the gin, Yauatcha City will be hosting cocktail masterclasses where guests will be able to learn how to create the Chinese New Year cocktails as well as gain information about the making of Monkey 47 from one of its brand ambassadors. Priced at £60 per person, the class takes place on 6th and 20th February and includes the Supreme Saturdays menu.

The closest tube stations to Yauatcha Soho and Yauatcha City are Oxford Circus and Liverpool Street respectively. Make sure you book both the menu and the cocktail masterclass in advance!

Happy Year of the Monkey everyone!

 

I was invited as a guest of Yauatcha Soho.

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