Pune may be the cultural capital of the country but it will not be long before it earns the status of the food capital. With new eateries springing up in the city every other day, foodies like us cannot help but revel in our new discovery.
Yo China maybe familiar by name but the minute you walk into this new revamped resto with chic interiors, you realise nothing is the same. High wooden chairs near the entrance with low hanging lamps, lots of wooden panneling on the inside and a few comfortable couches for family dining speak volumes about the change this restaurant has undergone.
The voluminous menu with visually appealing pictures of noodles, dimsums and different starters along with inclusions of sandwiches and burgers featured in the afternoon menu is a fresh take on Chinese food.
The minute you enter this modern Chinese cafe, you will notice a huge bar with a provision for seating atleast 10 people. The bar is expansive and houses the choicest of liquor.
We were seated on a lovely looking comfortable couch for a group of 4, in the family dining area. Ahead of us, were huge black boards bearing the menu on the walls. The lamps hanging low added warmth to the restaurant. There were beer bottles stacked in glass panels on the wall, to give a modern look to this Chinese Cafe. The restaurant wants to create an ambient place not only for a family to dine but also where youngsters can stop by and slug some beer. The music, the decor and the lighting scheme is all tastefully done up, to serve the purpose.
We started with the Fresh Kiwi and Lime Margarita which was beautiful presented in a wide bottomed glass. The iced green of the kiwi margarita topped with cherry tasted just as fantastic as it looked. Spiced guava drinks being our personal favourites, we ordered for the Guava Blast. Amongst the others were the Watermelon Mojito and the Pineapple Mojito. Both were a refreshing start to the evening and we revelled in the concoction of flavours.
For the starters we had a plethora of dishes to choose from. At one point it became difficult to pick a few out of the voluminous choice of starters. The Prawns Har Gow dimsums were deliciously soft with chunky pieces of prawns delicately encased inside the rice coating.
The Chicken hot basil dumpling had intense flavours of basil. The chicken was a little salty so we did not dwell on this starter much.
From the vegetarian entrees, we ordered for the Vegetable cheese corn dumpling and the Crispy Cottage Cheese with burnt garlic and spicy basil. The vegetable cheese corn dumpling was beautifully presented and was shaped like a flower. Though a little oily, it packed a punch with its cheesy corny flavours. The crispy cottage cheese starter was fresh with huge chunks of square shaped cottage cheese. We dug in with gusto but had to stop ourselves as we had the delicious looking Pan grilled chicken in bbq sauce and Pan grilled basa with ginger and chilli chunks waiting for us to bite into.
The Pan grilled chicken in bbq sauce was deliciously mouthwatering. The basa was fresh, sweet and the ginger and chilli was a high voltage pairing. The pan grilled basa was our firm favourite and we would go as far as saying that this was the best pan grilled basa we have had so far.
We were looked after well by the staff. The service was prompt and the recommendations for the starters were a hit.
The manager insisted we try the Crunchy vegetable Beijing style and the Stir Fry Prawn Thai roasted. We loved the smoky sweet taste of the crunchy vegetable in BBQ sauce. This dish was exquisite and was packed full of flavour. The stir fry prawns roasted in chilli and lemon grass were a hit. The ingredients were top quality and it was cooked how we like it, infused with great flavour, tender and topped with spring onions that lent it interesting flavours.
Though we were heading into a food coma, we did not want this culinary extravaganza to end here. We had to try the main course The manager suggested we try the vegetable chilli garlic noodles and the veg shanghai rice to the accompaniment of Chicken Mongolian. This was an instant hit. The chilli garlic noodles were light, well spiced and did not really need a curry to go with. The vegetable shanghai rice complemented the Mongolian chicken. Each flavour played to the other’s strength creating a wonderful balance both in taste and texture.
While perusing the menu, we noticed the visually appealing Black pepper lamb bowl rice. It looked so appetizing that we had to try this one. The decadent lamb boasted of great flavours of the BBQ sauce. Beautifully paired with long flakes of steamed rice, the combination was a win! Simple in presentation but bold in flavour, we were swooned by the rich flavours this dish attempted to put on our plates .
Finally to end this gastronomical journey on a sweet note, we ordered for the Walnut brownie with ice cream. After cooing at the presentation, we dug in with gusto as we tried spoonfuls of this potent dessert. The brownie was moist and topped with copious amounts of chocolate sauce. The flavours of the warm chocolate brownie were lifted by the lovely ice cream.
Recommendation: Without being too heavy on the pocket, this restaurant promises you a unique dining experience. Not only does it put great tastes on your platter but also ensures you a memorable evening out with friends and family. The chef is a keen master of Chinese flavours and makes sure you eat your way into mini China.
So the next time you happen to visit Phoenix Market City mall, don’t forget to stop by at Yo china and experience this culinary extravaganza.
Drinks: Fresh Kiwi and Lime Margarita, Watermelon Mojito
Starters: Prawns Har Gow dimsums, Crispy Cottage Cheese With burnt garlic and spicy basil, Pan grilled basa with ginger and chilli chunks, Crunchy vegetable Beijing style and the Stir Fry Prawn Thai roasted chilli & lemon grass.
Main Course: Black pepper lamb bowl rice, vegetable chilli garlic noodles
Dessert: Walnut brownie with ice cream
Overall Rating: 4/5