There aren’t many dim sum restaurants that are located in shopping malls. Most are either tucked in rustic coffee shops around the neighbourhood or served in luxury hotels in the city. While most people enjoy dim sum the traditional way – no frills or fancy ingredients – there is still a faction who loves trying new things, including a new spin to the typical dim sum.
Here’s where Yu by Ruyi comes in with an innovative route to Chinese cuisine. The modern Chinese restaurant and bespoke bar is known for its unique dim sum experience that captivates at first sight. Or perhaps, let the camera do the ‘eating’ first as each presentation comes out pretty as a picture.
Since its opening two months ago, Yu went viral with its adorable dumplings in shapes of carrot, hedgehogs, swans, bull and more. Customers have been coming back not for how these cute morsels are served but also for its delicious flavours. Yu’s attention to detail is delightful to watch – a balancing act between tastes and aesthetics.
Of course, it is also a plus point for a dim sum restaurant to be pork-free – allowing Chinese cuisine to be shared to all.
Yu by Ruyi is located right next to the main entrance of Gardens Mall Kuala Lumpur. The interiors reflect a modernised version of a char chan teng. Marble takes centre stage as seen on the dining surfaces and wall panels. The casual dining space is relaxing and cosy with a good amount of natural lighting.
First timers should always start with the dim sum menu. Each small bite is handmade in unique shapes of fruits and animals to allow the eyes to ‘feast’ first. But the flavours don’t disappoint. Savour them hot to truly enjoy the freshness of the dim sum – available in both steamed and fried options.
On the order chit, be sure give the Unagi Dumpling (RM18), Steamed Pumpkin Dumpling (RM9) and Vegetarian Dumpling (“RM10) a tick each. The eel gives the dumpling a very pleasant umami finish, that pairs well with the Mongolian chilli sauce. The vegetarian dumpling with a filling of carrots and jicama goes beautifully with a ginger-based condiment.
On the deep-fried menu, get the Crispy Swan (RM10), Wagyu Puff (RM13) and Hong Kong Style Glutinous Dumpling (RM11). Don’t be fooled by the outlook as the crispy swanlike puffs are actually filled with smoked duck. Luscious savoury filling balances the light and fluffy texture of the yam shell. The beef puff, on the other hand, is both umami and rich – perfect for ardent carnivorous foodies.
Let us warn you: it can be a little too pretty to eat.
Yu also serves a modernised Chinese menu for those who are up for something more wholesome. Inspired by the idea of ‘rice and dishes’, Yu has cooked up an extensive menu comprising broths, red meats, seafood and seasonal greens – each composed with finesse and a hint of surprise.
Have a go at the Chick-U-Teh (RM28), a spin-off from the classic bak ku teh. Looking nothing like the typical all-in-a-claypot style, Yu presents an elegant deconstructed version with elements of the dish arranged like a walk in the forest. From a braised quail egg and mushroom to a roasted garlic on the side, the elements are meant to be eaten together to create the familiar flavours of the bak ku teh. The broth is also light but packed with strong umami notes.
Another standout dish is Flower Pillow (RM38), which is a matcha-infused tofu topped with caviar, ikura and oats. The dish, presented as a piece of art, is dressed with edible flowers and deep-fried curry leaves – each mouthful is a burst of flavours that is both puzzling but exciting at the same time.
But we think the piece de resistance of the day is Yu’s Pekingnese Princess (RM88). A modern interpretation of the Peking duck, this dish brings together a unique pairing of foie gras and crispy duck skin to a whole new level. While one may find it slightly excessive with the additional of caviar and gold leaf, the creamy foie gras mousse actually resembles the taste of duck meat. The crispy skin makes up for the lack of texture in the dish but when both eaten together, it’s truly a crowd-pleaser.
For dessert, be sure to taste the Playboy Lava Carrot (RM15). These half sweet, half savoury carrot-like morsels remind you of apom, a local turnover pancake with sprinkled sugar and crushed peanuts. Each bite reveals a molten peanut lava that will leave you wanting for more.
If you’re up for something spiked but not too ‘strong’ during lunch hours, Yu offers an interesting list of specialty cocktails (or mocktails) that are easy on the palate. Try the Mother’s Tea (RM38) that is a refreshing rendition mixing grass jelly and flavours of ai yu bing. Bruce Lee (RM38) is also another good thirst quencher with tropical nuances of jackfruit and lime. For something more potent, try Koi (RM50). The drink, perfect as a digestif, has strong Negroni-like flavours with a herbaceous finish that may be overwhelming at first – but the drink would certainly grow on you.
Yu knows how to make a pretty dish desirable to all senses – a presentation that looks amazing (also for social media), a dish is layered with fragrance and each bite that promises a taste that is unique to the restaurant. Since creating the ‘smallest nasi lemak and chicken rice’ in Malaysia, the team behind Ruyi headed by Executive Chef James Ho continues to pioneer innovation and creativity into its menu – this time with nothing short of exciting flavours that match the aesthetic qualities of each dish.
It is a great place for family and friends, as well as colleagues to enjoy the complex flavours of Chinese cuisine in a unique way. Whether you’re here just for dim sum or for a full round-table meal, Yu takes you on a journey to experience modern Chinese cooking with a unique twist.
Yu by Ruyi, G-243, The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, +603-2202 2602