Review of 'Yum Cha'

20231026_152957.jpg Ever since I moved to the North West of England I have been in search of a decent dim sum restaurant. Having eaten at some of the best dim sum restaurants in the world in Hong Kong, mainland China and, dare I say it, London, I feel I am a reasonably good judge of what “decent” dim sum actually is. After visiting “Yum Cha” in Liverpool on my birthday just recently I fear I am still searching.

“Yum Cha” has two locations, the one I visited in Liverpool and another in Manchester. Online they have reasonably good reviews so showed promise for a visit. The Liverpool location is outside of the city centre on the rather nice “Lark Lane” - A short road with a series of interesting independent shops and restaurants. Having brought the car, parking was a bit tricky but we managed to find a spot on Lark Lane itself though there is parking on the side streets also. The modern looking darkly painted restaurant is on the corner of Lark Lane and Waverley Road - Look for the large neon “Yum Cha” sign in the window. Note that they do not take reservations.

Inside the restaurant there are two seating areas and a small bar. Toilets are at the extreme back of the restaurant disconcertedly opposite the kitchen which I am not sure you really want to look into. The interior is quite funky with a mural across one wall featuring a Chinese woman with the space lit by ceiling lanterns. We were seated at the front window near to the bar.


The placemat/menu is divided into “Dim Sum”, “Dumplings/Bao/Steamed”, “Roast Meats” (meat + side + sauce), “Noodle Soup” (filling + noodles + dumplings), “Desserts”, “Chinese Tea”, “Soft Drinks/Beer”, “Big Plates” (including a “Veg” sub section) and “Sides”. One of the things I guess to do here is to try their cocktails so there is a separate, small, menu with those on it as well. Disappointingly, the “Dim Sum” section is quite short with only 14 dishes listed with some of them, arguably, not even dim sum such as “Spring Rolls” and “BBQ Ribs” though there are another 13 more offerings in the “Dumplings” section which gives a bit more to choose from. Considering this place calls itself “Yum Cha” which literally is “dim sum” it was more than a bit disappointing. Thankfully some of the favourites are here including “Char Siu Bao” and “Xiao Long Bao” (Shanghai style soup dumplings). We made our choices on the menu, remembering by scrubbing holes through the paper beside each dish…

Nicely, the jasmine tea (£3 a pot) was refilled whenever we wanted throughout our meal…

Crispy Belly Pork

The first dish to arrive was “Crispy Belly Pork” (£5.95) with four small juicy but slightly chewy pieces of pork belly in a light soy sauce served with a (small again) side of wonderfully mild but tasty kimchi (Korean, of course).

Broccoli & Pak Choi in Garlic & Chilli

The “Broccoli & Pak Choi in Garlic & Chilli” side dish (£4.50) had vegetables that were, thankfully, not overcooked but perfectly crunchy but smothered with a cloying sauce that seemed a trifle excessive. Despite being billed alongside “chilli” there were only a few small slices in the sauce that really did not really complement the other flavours (sharp heat but everything else being so mild).

Chilli Wontons

“Chilli Wontons” (£5.50, served with your choice of chicken, pork & prawn, or veggie - I had the pork & prawn) were certainly a local creation with small deep-fried wontons covered with a sticky hot sauce that, yes, was a bit on the hot side. An interesting crispy/sticky texture that was, if anything, disappointing in the small portion size.

Char Siu Bao

Our favourite, “Char Siu Bao” (£5.50, pork steamed dumplings) had a good amount of filling. We have found sometimes the filling can be quite modest but here the steamed buns were full of a reasonably tasty pork mixture.

Xiao Long Bao

“Xiao Long Bao” (£5.50, Shanghai soup dumplings with pork) were slightly small but quite juicy and tasty. The dumpling case was very thick and cloying, which somewhat distracted from the delicious interior.

Jiaozi Pot Stickers (Gyoza)

The final dish to arrive were the “Jiaozi Pot Stickers (Gyoza)” (£5.95) - Four rather undercooked and stodgy chicken fried dumplings with a small amount of tasteless dipping sauce. Hugely disappointing.

Our bill came to £35.90 which did not have a service charge added. So, about average for this type of food.

In summary, while there were some decent dishes here in general we were quite underwhelmed with the quality of the dim sum. Prices seemed pretty reasonable but some of the dishes had excessive amounts of sauce and most of the dumplings had very thick and almost undercooked casings making them chewy and not terribly pleasant. I would be willing to come back to try a few of their other dishes, perhaps even straying off the dim sum/dumplings section, but only if I was in the area.

I really wanted to like “Yum Cha” but ended up being disappointed. I will keep searching….

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2023-10-26

Cuisine: Chinese

Address: 9 Lark Lane, Liverpool L17 8UP ENGLAND

Location: Liverpool (England)



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Telephone: +44 (0) 151 345 6512