Apricots and peaches; golden syrup and treacle with caramelised brown sugar; Turkish delight; jam and butter caramel: these aren’t, as one might expect, flavours of jewelled sweets packed tightly into glass confectionery jars, but are, in fact, the descriptions of a selection of the drinks listed in Yauatcha’s Liquid Sweet Shop, a curated list of sweet and fortified wines, sakes, spirits, cocktails and liqueurs especially designed to follow the complex flavours of Chinese cuisine.
As opposed to the average dessert wine list that many restaurants provide, the Liquid Sweet Shop is presented as a collection of drinks not limited to wine that can either be paired with the desserts on the menu or appreciated on their own at the end of the meal. Indeed, each of the desserts include a drink recommendation, from the Umeshu Dewatsuru ‘Umegokochi’ plum sake whose sour plum flavour cuts through the rich chocolate textures of the Chocolate pebble, to the intensely perfumed Moscato Rosa with its notes of orange peel and Turkish delight that pairs so perfectly with the liquorice flavours of the Chocolate luxe gateaux.
All of the wines in the restaurant go through a rigorous tasting session, known in Hakkasan Group as the Tuesday Tasting selection process. The head sommeliers of each of Hakkasan’s London restaurants, including HKK, Sake no Hana, both Hakkasan restaurants and, of course, Yauatcha, taste all current and potential wines accompanied by a selection of dishes, chosen specifically for their flavour properties, to ensure that each wine matches with each dish on the menu. This tasting process is extensive, as each sommelier’s perspective is taken into account, following the theory that “the food chooses the wine” as opposed to the other way around.
Each of the sweet wines are chosen in this way, except they are paired with sweet dishes rather than savoury. The wine team then select potential wines depending on what range and style they’re looking for, and which work best with the range of desserts; these wines are then listed in the Liquid Sweet Shop, alongside the sakes, cocktails, spirits and liqueurs that best suit the dessert list.
The innovative collection in the Liquid Sweet Shop caters for any number of sweet teeth, from the Nanbu Bijin Okenotami sake, with its toffee aromas and pistachio and vanilla flavours, to the decadent Lady Penelope cocktail, a truly grown-up milkshake, made from strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, vanilla vodka and lashings of milk and cream.
It is this innovation that continues throughout the Yauatcha wine list, crafting a unique experience that reflects the interesting nature of the food – both the intricate tastes of Chinese dim sum and the classic techniques of the patisserie – at Yauatcha.