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YumCha Vie Restro-Lounge: Hearty Chinese for Tired Mall Rats
YumCha Vie from the house of Vie (owners of Vie Lounge) is located right at the entrance of Phoenix Market City, Kurla. Glance over the bamboo fence separating the foyer from the restaurant, and you see a big al fresco seating area that makes up only half of this huge (by Mumbai mall standards) 100-seater standalone.
Judging from the décor, YumCha Vie, an oriental joint, seems a confused mix of Lounge meets Punjabi standalone meets café done up with a bamboo fence, Buddha statues and Chinese hangings. That’s probably because Funjabi Tadka -- with menu done up by Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi -- shares the al fresco space. But a look at the menu, and you know the restaurant is very clear on the kind of food they want to serve tired shoppers, and their positioning. The accent is old-school Indian Chinese that we’ve all grown up with -- no frills, no surprises. And they’ve got it pretty bang on. Just in case you feel a little experimental, you can also order from a small selection of Thai and Japanese.
Yum Cha - Dimsums with Tea
Dimsums are their USP and it’s evident from the name. Restaurant Manager Nitesh told us YumCha is the Chinese tradition of eating dimsums with tea. So first off, we ordered some dimsums with tea.
We ordered 4 kinds: Har Gaw Prawns, Thai Chasha Chicken, Siu Mai chicken and prawns. Even though we expect mild flavours in these steamed babies, a pleasant surprise was Thai Chasha Chicken with a strong presence of Lemon Grass. With the others, it was difficult to point out individual flavours though they were all great tasting. They were hearty, flavourful with generous packing of meats and seafood, and a good range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian to choose from. Rs. 250 for 4 pieces is good enough for anyone with a moderate appetite.
On the Captain’s suggestion, we ordered Lonhjing green tea, which is mild and fruity. It came in double-walled cups that kept the tea warm till the end of the meal, without scorching your hands. I appreciated that little touch.
Comfort food = spicy, greasy chicken
After Dimsums we moved to appetisers. So we ordered Lapchi Kai Chicken – deep-fried chicken topped with red onions and juicy bell peppers coated in red spicy sauce, and stir-fried Burnt Chilly Chicken. Lapchi Kai Chicken was fiery but so delicious that you couldn’t stop eating it. The chicken in both appetisers was cooked perfectly, it was juicy and the portion size, optimum. Just the right kind of food to feed cravings and cure hangovers.
We loved the appetisers so much we reluctantly made space for the main course in the interest of a well-rounded review.
You can stop at starters if you want.
One thing worth noticing about the main course menu was that it was divided on the basis of sauces. There were 6 with a short description and suggestion on what vegetable or meat goes with them. I found this menu setting very convenient. It made it simpler and faster to choose what we wanted.
We tried Black Pepper Sauce with Prawns, Yellow Thai Curry with Chicken and Burnt Garlic Rice. I felt that both were not there in terms of flavour and consistency. The black pepper sauce was too cornfloury, which created a thin film even when it was warm, making it look not so appetizing. Even the yellow curry was too thick, with no distinct flavours coming through. The portion size was decent and prices reasonable (Rs. 220 for vegetarian, Rs. 250 for chicken and Rs. 380 for sea food).
Wait, there’s also the bar.
YumCha Vie has roughly 80 covers outside the lounge-cum-restaurant space, but they don’t serve food there due to hygiene reasons. We insisted that we sit outside and found out it was a bad idea as our food immediately attracted flies.
You could also sit at their dimly lit lounge bar with two bartenders in tow even during lean hours. Their bar menu lists classic and fusion mocktails and cocktails, and you get an all day Happy Hour on Vie’s home-grown brands -- Invincible Purete Vodka and Master’s Imperial Whiskey.
Service, slow and abrupt.
The restaurant, reportedly, is the busiest on weekends, with footfall rising on evenings starting Wednesday. We were there on a Monday afternoon and the restaurant was almost empty. Yet the service even on such a lean day was quite slow. Also mid-way, our table service was handed over to a new attendant, who without introduction started serving us.
Timings: 11 am to 11.15 pm (last order)
Meal for two: Rs 800
Address: Upper Ground Level, Phoenix Market City, Kurla
Call: 022 25141425
I recommend: The appetisers and dimsums