I recently got invited to dine as a guest of Yu in Alderley Edge, in exchange for a review on sophiesscran.com. I hadn’t been before, so this was a great opportunity to get down there and see what it was like. A ‘fine dining’ approach to Chinese food with a modern edge, I was excited to go along as I absolutely love good-quality Chinese food.
I took my foodie pal Gemma (from You Say Tomato) so I could gauge her opinion too. Here’s what we thought…
The setting and decor
The place is a little tucked away, behind the new Piccolino, and I must say that the entrance isn’t the most welcoming as you feel as if you’re walking through a back door… But, once you’re in and upstairs the place is gorgeous.
The decor is modern, with pretty Chinese portraits on the wall and really cool blue, low lighting. Although I was a little confused as to why one of the ladies on the wall was wearing a horse riding helmet!
Small plates (and the art of being indecisive)
I used to think that being indecisive in a restaurant was a terrible thing. But small plates have become popular in a wide range of restaurants now; so having a bit of everything and sharing dishes is easy. Much like I enjoyed doing at another great Alderley Edge restaurant, Railway Cafe. IF YOU CAN’T DECIDE JUST ORDER A LOAD AND SHARE.
Wok Seared Scallops, Wild Mushrooms, with Garlic and Chilli: diving into the scallops first, we agreed they were stir-fried to perfection. Elaborately served in the shells, they also came with slices of crunchy asparagus (nice and seasonal) which worked really well.
Salt and Pepper Squid: the squid was a little on the dry side, but I think that’s actually how it’s supposed to be. It’s light coating was really crispy and the garlic and chilli topping was delicious and spicy. A squeeze of lime juice might have pepped it up a little, but that was just our thoughts on the dish.
Wok Seared “War Tip” Pork Dumplings: this was an absolute delight – pork filled and lightly fried to give it a bit of crispy texture. Very moreish and reminded me so much of the momo’s I ate whilst travelling in Nepal. Deeeee-licious.
Steamed Siu Mai with Prawn: last but not least the stunning prawn siu mai served in a traditional steamer. Light and juicy and full of tender minced prawn. It went really nicely with the hot-chilli dipping sauce (see below). All in all, an amazing selection of small plates to start.
Second course (a very modern take on ‘crispy duck’)
Having shared 4 small dishes to start we opted to have the crispy duck as a second course, and then go on to share one main. Described on the menu as “Victor Yu’s deconstructed Crispy Duck and Pancakes” naturally, we were intrigued.
The dish is served with duck three ways; aromatic breast of duck very thinly sliced, served at room temperature. Then crispy duck skin is separate, adding a true ‘crispy’ texture to the dish. Finally there is ‘pulled’ duck meat to really pad out the pancakes with some meaty goodness.
It’s accompanied by spring onions, cucumber in yuzu dressing and lashings of hoi sin, along with traditional pancakes.
I will say this now: it’s the best aromatic crispy duck I have ever eaten. Closely followed by some that I ate in China Town, central London, at about 2am one Wednesday morning (might have been a little drunk).
Yu’s version is classy, meaty and delicious. And actually ‘crispy‘! Which is more than you can say for most versions of this Chinese classic.
Sexy black cod main and traditional Chinese tea
So, although stuffed, we were seemingly on a mission. More than willing to take a pot-belly for the team; we eagerly awaited the next installment: roasted black cod, with miso and champagne. We decided to team it with the spring onion fried rice with chorizo.
The cod was amazing. So moist and juicy, buttery in texture as black cod is when it’s cooked this well. It was charred on the outside but melted in your mouth. The rice that accompanied it was also delicious – so light and fluffy, the chorizo really was a great addition too.
So, to aid digestion of such a truly delectable feast – we opted for a cup of traditional Chinese tea, of which there was amble choice. The waitress bought over an adorable selection box for us to pick which one we wanted, I opted for Jasmine Green and my friend the Dragon Well. Both were delightful, although it was quite tricky to drink them steaming hot out of the handle-less glass cups!
Overall we had an excellent meal at Yu and I would certainly recommend it. It is a little on the pricey side, but, the ingredients are clearly top-notch and lots of work goes into making each dish as delicious as it possibly can be. It really is a fine-dining experience with the presentation of the dishes wonderful too. For a special occasion, considering this place is a must if you love Chinese food.
But, if you’re after more of a bargain – they have a great mid-week offer of “Beijing Bellini and Dim Sums” which is £25 per person for a Beijing Bellini cocktail with four small plates; Duck Rolls, Salt & Pepper Scallops, your choice of Dim Sum and Prawn Toast. I will certainly be returning.
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