Add: 4 rue Sauval, 75001 Paris
Tel: 01 40 26 08 07
Hours: 12~3:30pm, 7~10:30pm (closed Sun, Mon & Tue lunch)
Price: [lunch] €60~100/set [dinner] €100 [tea/wine pairing] €20~45
Visited on: Nov 2012
The name “Yam’Tcha” conjures up images of boisterous dim sum joints in Hong Kong, but that’s far from what goes on in this dainty little restaurant near Le Louvre. Chef Adeline Grattard (a fellow Ferrandi graduate, by the way) worked under Pascal Barbot at L’Astrance before spending two years at Bo Innovation, a 2 Michelin stars restaurant in Hong Kong famously known for its ground-breaking Chinese dishes. Now back in Paris, Chef Grattard is creating her own blend of Sino Franco cuisine, which has received much enthusiastic acclaim including one Michelin star soon after the restaurant opened.
The restaurant decor is warm and casual, with Chinese elements dotting here and there.
A special feature of Yam’Tcha is its tea pairing option orchestrated by Chef Grattard’s husband Chiwah Chan, who is Cantonese by origin.
Soon after being seated, we were offered a cup of Phoenix Oolong (鳳凰單叢), and thus began our lunch.
A 4-course lunch menu (€60) is available, but the waitress recommended that I try their 6-course degustation menu (€100) with tea pairing (€25) to get the quintessential Yam’Tcha experience, and I gladly took her advice. My friend also ordered the degustation menu, but chose the tea-and-wine pairing (€35) instead. The meal started with a pork bun amuse bouche, its skin denser and finer than the typical Chinese bun. Different prepping method or different flour? Not sure, but it was delicious.
Amuse bouche #2: cucumber, smoked tofu, white sesame, and baby shiso leaves.
First entree: seared langoustines and scallop with black olive from China, hazelnut, and pear. The flavor and texture combination was elegant, subtle, and harmonious, a characteristic that held true throughout the rest of the meal.
Accompanied by Tieguanyin from Fujian.
Or a glass of 2008 Coindrieu by Marie and Pierre Beneliere.
Second entree: foie gras with mushrooms and dry scallop foam, served with steamed buns. The green on the side is an oyster leaf, which really does taste like oysters for those of you who are wondering.
Lovely, lovely steamed buns, with a particular fragrance perhaps from sesame oil.
Paired with a seven-year-old Pu’er 七年陳普洱.
Or a glass of 2008 Domaine Valette Mâcon-Chaintré.
Fish course: steamed sea bass with leeks and soya. Supple, succulent, and perfectly seasoned.
Paired with Yunnan white tea 雲南白茶.
The meat course was spring chicken with Iberico ham and Chinese artichoke dressed in Shaoxing wine sauce. The chicken skin was remarkably crisp, and the wine sauce beyond alluring. There were also some shaved chestnuts in the mix that added another layer of flavor and texture.
Paired with Wuyi Shuixian Oolong 武夷水仙烏龍.
Or a class of 2008 Les Tuffeaux Montlouis sur Loire.
Cheese course: chevre with honey, soya, and olive oil. Sounds too busy? Not at all. The hint of soya was barely discernible, perhaps just to accentuate the sweetness in other ingredients.
Paired with Yunwu green tea 雲霧綠茶.
Pre-desserts: date with passion fruit cream, figs orange cornmeal biscuit, and coconut white chocolate. The mushy consistency of the date was particularly interesting, I wonder if it was blended then shaped back into a date…
Dessert: dumplings with chocolate in sweet ginger soup. In China, sweet dumplings are typically stuffed with black sesame or red bean paste, and I was surprised to find dark chocolate to work well in this ensemble, but only wish the filling and skin were a little softer. The ginger soup, sweet with just the slightest spiciness, was especially soothing on this cold winter day.
Paired with jasmine tea 茉莉花茶.
Chef Grattard in her impressively small and neat kitchen.
Lunch at Yam’Tcha wasn’t merely pleasant, it was truly memorable. There’s no point arguing whether the cuisine is more Chinese or more French, as it’s simply a perfectly harmonious blend of the two. For first time visitors, I highly recommend ordering the 6-course degustation menu with tea pairing, the latter of which I did not describe in detail here because my lack of proper adjectives, but in fact each perfectly brewed pot of tea was an integral part of the dining experience at Yam’tcha. Go ahead and call for your reservation now.