When deciding where to eat whilst in Paris, I’d had my eye on the restaurant yam’Tcha but my efforts to get a reservation were unsuccessful… Every cloud has a silver lining though, and we managed to snag two seats for Saturday lunch at the more casual sister restaurant Boutique yam’Tcha
Boutique yam’Tcha is tiny little place on Rue Sauval, seating only about 18 people (at a push) along two long benches. We took our seats shoulder to shoulder with the other diners, which as we’ve experienced before is a great way to get chatting to some really interesting strangers (and steal their Parisian restaurant knowledge!)
We ordered one Thé du jour en salle (hot tea of the day) and one Thé glacé du jour (iced tea of the day) and set about choosing from the small menu. Their bao (steamed buns) are famous so obviously we had to try those, but they also have a small specials board to choose from aswell
First to arrive were the pork & crab nems (spring rolls) with a sweet chilli and rice vinegar dipping sauce. The shredded meat and crab filling had the perfect amount of saltiness and they were richer than I expected (in the best way possible!) and the outer roll was really light and crispy. I copied the guys sat next to us and wrapped mine in the fresh lettuce before dunking into the sweet tangy sauce – the combination of all three together was great
Next was the assortment of 5 different baos – from the outside they all look the same but the square of paper underneath each one has a small mark that corresponds to a little key, telling you what’s inside
Incredibly light steamed dough encased each of the fillings – below is black sausage, aubergine and sechuan, which had a good bit of spice
Smoked tofu & vegetable – after proclaiming ‘I don’t want the tofu one’, the husband then decided this was his favourite!
My favourite had to be the curried Comté & onion – not what I expected to see on the menu but it was so delicious! The hint of curry worked so well with the oozy cheese and sweet onion
The other two bao that aren’t pictured above were stilton cheese & cherry (amazingly tangy with pops of sweet cherry) and I think spicy duck, but forgot to take note, oops! They were all so tasty!
Feeling just the right side of full, we decided we had room for one last dish and opted for the confit duck noodle soup with green tomato (we got the last bowl before they ran out – result!)
You could tell that the shredded confit duck had been cooked for a long time as it was so tender and just fell apart when pressed with a spoon. I had expected the green tomatoes to be bitter but they were actually quite sweet and really moreish, and the crinkly noodles were thick with just a bit of bite. Light but intense meaty broth brought all the elements together marvellously
We decided against dessert (you could even order a sweet bao) in favour of a walk by the river and a glass of wine or two, so paid up and headed on our way
We had definitely timed our lunch well, as to the right of the restaurant is a hatch into the kitchen where you can order bao to-go if you’re unable to get a table inside. When we left there was quite a queue down the road showing just how popular the little restaurant is!
I’d highly recommend a visit to Boutique yam T’cha, just make sure you arrive early!