Dec 07, 2011
There's a sense of this carefully nurtured, organic fun to Tuli's (big) baby, The Yum Yum Tree in New Friends Colony Community Market. Sprawling over 6,500 square feet of space on the first floor, TYYT is cleverly divided into three distinct spaces. There's a spacious fine-dining room, with lots of windows on three sides and alcoves that look over the lit-up tree tops outside. White trappings, minimalist chandeliers and pink accents liven up this space and make it seem very airy. There's a relaxed grill and dining area with cushioned benches and dark wood tables - and an honest-to-goodness conveyer belt of the type found in sushi bars, running in a U from the live grill past the tables. There's outside seating as well here; it's covered and shaded from the sun's glare, strung with metal lanterns and the management promises fans by the time the hot season is in full swing. There's a fabulous bar in the back as well, with Chesterfield-padded walls, live animation projections and baroque pattern etched-stone ceilings and bar. Sadly though, when we visited, no booze license yet. Happily, we can look forward to relatively competitively priced international house wines by the bottle and beer. Naturally, there will be cocktails.
The Chinese and Chinese-inspired food comes second to the decor here, but that doesn't mean that it's an afterthought. There are two "dimsum specialists" in the kitchens. We really liked the crisp duck springrolls served piping hot with a gooseberry sauce (six of them, Rs 300). The barbecue pork bao were good as well, again served steaming hot, soft and generously filled (Rs 250). The prawn and water chestnut har gao in their translucent wrapping were tasty too - filled to bursting with tender pink shrimp and crunchy bits of water chestnut (Rs 300). The Shanghai chicken dumplings were a little too spicy for our taste, but went well with the accompanying Schezuan chili sauce (Rs 200). All in all, we're looking forward to the inauguration of their champagne dimsum Sunday brunch, currently in the works and tentatively (and competitively) priced at Rs 1,200.
We ploughed on to the main courses, encouraged by the digestive properties of cups and cups of mild jasmine tea. Our entrees lacked a little lustre compared to the dimsum, but they were respectable if not authentic. We liked the sweet crispy pork with pineapple and litchi (Rs 350) - very crunchy and colourful with red and green peppers. The roasted eggplant chilli soy (Rs 250) was nicely presented. It didn't have the smoky taste of the vegetable though. The duck pancakes were very well priced at Rs 350, but nowhere near the standard of other (admittedly five-star) Chinese restaurants in town. Presentation-wise, these would have looked better if brought to the table unconstructed - so one could roll the fixings according to taste.
Our desserts though were a pleasant surprise. There's a separate pastry kitchen, and the simple but pretty concoctions that came out of it were both creative and delicious. The chocolate-dipped fresh figs were clad in real, bittersweet Belgian chocolate (Rs 350). Don't miss the cream cheese and walnut-stuffed deep fried wontons, generously drizzled over with a fantastically fresh and slightly tart strawberry coulis (Rs 250). Tuli plans to add a fully-fledged coffee menu to the restaurant soon - with a range of spices and beans that should complement the desserts.
Though the grill area is geared towards a quick, casual meal, we found we had lingered over an hour at this comfortably energetic restaurant. We'll be back, once we can order a drink with our dinner.