Yum yum dim sum

2011-01-21 13:14

For our first girls night out of the year, my friends and I decided to feast at Bean Bag Bohemia’s Yum Cha Cha dim sum and noodle bar, a relatively recent addition to the Durban food scene.

Okay, it’s a year old, but none of us had been there yet.

Bean Bag Bohemia (BBB) is one of Durban’s trendiest restaurant and café bars where socialites have been schmoozing for the past 15 years.

BBB’s longevity can be attributed to owner Guy Wood’s constant evolution of the theme and menu in an endeavour to keep things vibrant and fresh.

Housed in a beautiful double-storey Victorian building in Morningside, BBB incorporates the popular downstairs bar and café with street seating, an open courtyard area at the back, and the upstairs floor which was transformed into Yum Cha Cha in late 2009.

The food at BBB has always been innovative and Yum Cha Cha is no exception.

The Asian-influenced fare is created by Chef Brendan Newport, who is also a partner in the business.

The unique culinary art of dim sum, involving small portions of food, originated from China and is also known as going to “drink tea” (yum cha).

The upstairs restaurant is divided into separate smoking and non-smoking sections and the décor is super cute with bright kawaii-inspired animal characters painted on the walls. The same characters decorate the delightful menu and add charm to the place.

Expect a full dim-sum menu with dumplings, steamed buns, rice-paper wraps, sticky-rice balls and other delights served in steamer baskets with chopsticks.

Main meals such as noodles, Thai curries, line fish, stir fries, lamb cutlets and other unusual dishes are also available on the menu and range in price from R40 to R120.

We chose to sit in a comfortable lounge area in the smoking section and decided to go the recommended route of ordering a variety of dim sum, sharing and sampling the different exotic flavours.

Items arrived in bamboo steamers with three or four dim sum per basket. The Angry Duck Wontons with hoisin sauce and a lemongrass infusion (R24) are highly recommended as are the Red Bean Bau Sticky Buns (R10 each) served with yummy plum and chilli sauces.

The only drawback is that BBB has never been known for its service. The staff, although very friendly, are a bit slow.

So prepare to wait for your food.

Unfortunately, the kitchen was short staffed when we were there due to the holidays, so there were a few mix-ups on our orders too.

Our food took about an hour to arrive, although when it did it was definitely worth the wait. In their favour, the manager was pleasant and extremely apologetic, offering us a round of desserts and coffee on the house.

The desserts were heavenly.

We shared a Chocolate Marquise with chilli and chai-tea ice-cream, a Pecan-Nut Cheesecake with toffee bits and a triple-flavoured Crème Brûlée (R25 each), and topped it off with Kahlua coffees.

Despite the service, the food was so memorable that I will definitely be going back for more.

Dim Sum Martini sessions are held every Wednesday when half-price cocktails are served between 3.30pm and 7pm, and a live DJ spins a selection of beats downstairs.

The restaurant also hosts food and wine gourmet evenings and offers an outside catering service.

Bean Bag Bohemia has made its mark in establishing a culture in town different from any other.

» Find BBB at 18 Lilian Ngoyi ­(Windermere) Road, Durban.

Open seven days a week from 7am to 2am.
 031 309 6019

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