YUMN Brasserie 7.8/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 6.7/10
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 7.8/10
NOTE: ALL MEAT IS HALAL. ALCOHOL IS SERVED ON THE PREMISES.
I barely get the opportunity to sample what my hometown, Croydon, has to offer with regard to halal food. However, when one of my closest friends, pakora got engaged, I knew that a simple trip to Maazi just wouldn’t cut it. YES! Perfect opportunity to celebrate with one of my favourite restaurants, YUMN Brasserie, which I strictly reserve for special occasions. The best part was that we could sample the best French specialities, and it was all halalianos!
We both agreed before ordering that we would go for a main and dessert rather than starters and a main. After previously trying the lobster Thermidor (which I still remember was amazingly tender, flavoursome and creamy), I now wanted to sample one of their steak dishes. I finally decided on the fillet steak, medium rare (OBVS), which was 28 day aged, and was the second priciest steak option (at £25) after the chateaubriand (but hey, it was a celebration right!?). With that, I would also be served a portion of chips, grilled tomato and mushrooms, and was offered a selection of sauces to accompany my steak. I opted for a blue cheese sauce on this ocassion. Pakora went for the oven roasted rump of lamb, which was an equally appealing option to me, served with garlic and rosemary gravy and potato dauphinoise.
Both of us also indulged in a cocktail each to accompany our meals. I ordered the Fresh Berry Velvet, which was blackberry and raspberry puree, brown sugar, rose infused syrup, lime juice and pineapple juice. Pakora went for the Virgin Lychee Martini, made from grilled lychee marinated in cinnamon and honey, lychee puree and coconut water. Both mocktails, unlike other eateries which drown their mocktails in syrup, were not too sweet, and so were refreshing and pleasing to the palette. My only complaint is that there was not more!
Our meals were served fairly rapidly, after we had time to indulge in a couple of slices of warm toasted bread and butter. I was initially skeptical as to how I would find this steak, after becoming accustomed to the heavily marinated, spiced steaks served at Sahara Grill, however, my skepticism evaporated into thin air as soon as I took my first bite. The steak itself was a perfect medium rare, grilled to perfection, and marinated simply in salt and pepper. This is not to say that the steak wasn’t flavoursome, as even without the blue cheese sauce I was perfectly content with my steak, but the blue cheese sauce just blew me away by adding an extra punch of flavour. It was the perfect accompaniment to my meal. The fries were thin, crispy and perfectly cooked. So much so that pakora couldn’t hold back from tucking in whilst chomping away at her rump of lamb.
Pakora’s roasted lamb was equally tender, tasty, boneless, and sliced into manageable portions. She decided to cremate her lamb to well done (ouch), yet the meat was still surprisingly tender. The potato dauphinoise was creamy and fluffy, and equally flavoursome. I was so impressed.
One engagement/proposal story later, we had (quite literally) licked our plates clean, and didn’t waste much time when it came to ordering dessert. Knowing each other quite well, we both excitedly shouted ‘YUMN chocolate stack with raspberry sorbet’ at the same time to a rather perplexed waitress, before bursting into laughter. Pakora, much like me, also has a sweet tooth (despite being a dentist).
The dessert wasn’t like anything I had tasted before. The stack was a layer cake of stiff yet flavoursome sponge. It mainly tasted of dark chocolate (my favourite), which meant that it wasn’t too sweet, leaving pakora and I to launch into a spoon fight over the remaining few crumbs. The sorbet was a great fruity accompaniment to the chocolate dessert, and was perfectly creamy. I was more than satisfied.
The bill came to just over £60, which isn’t bad for two courses at a fine restaurant such as YUMN. The service was beyond exceptional, the food arrived quickly, was presented beautifully, and the staff were continuously asking if there was anything else we needed. The decor was sharp, modern and luxurious, and considering it was a Wednesday night, there were more customers than I expected. I wouldn’t visit if you were on a tight budget, but if you have a special occasion coming up, and want to indulge in a cuisine which is rarely available to the muslim community, I would DEFINITELY give YUMN a go.