Prepare to party at JBR’s new hotspot…
When Ramusake closed its doors, it left a void in JBR’s nightlife scene for a restaurant that you’d go to for the tasty menu, and stay late for the music and vibe. Fast forward two years, and Ramusake has been replaced by Yingsu, a restaurant that promises authentic Chinese cuisine served in a setting that’s set to bring the party.
The entrance is guarded by two grand Chinese dragons, and through the doors you’re led immediately into the bar area. It’s dark and inviting, lit in vibrant neon red, an assortment of red and gold Chinese lanterns takes centre stage right in the middle, a wooden bar lines the back wall, backed by rows of glass and bottles. In front, utilitarian bar stools and tables are the perfect spot to enjoy a pre-dinner drink.
Inside the restaurant, long rows of restaurant tables give the feel of a communal dining hall, an ode to China’s bustling street food markets. Dark mahogany wood tables are surrounded by bright ruby red chairs, and various shades of crimson, scarlet and burgundy dominate the colour palette. This theme extends out onto the terrace, which boasts stunning views of Ain Dubai and Bluewaters, and thanks to windows that fold fully outwards, even diners indoors can enjoy those coveted views when the temperature permits.
Yingsu wants to be the place diners come to party, and the music certainly gives that feel, with sets of pop and house hits spinning at just the right volume level. It would be easy for the restaurant to forgo a focus on the food, but the menu has been well designed to incorporate plenty of familiar Chinese dishes, mixed with a few more inventive options. Once we’ve selected a few options from each of the sections; dim sum, cold and hot starters, mains, veggies and rice and noodles, a bowl of crunchy prawn crackers arrives with a delicious homemade chili sauce on the side. We quickly inhale them and order another plate.
The starters all arrive together, a point we feel needs to be made as it’s a welcome shift from “the food arrives when it’s ready” that seams to be the popular running order of choice in restaurants in 2022. Both the Wagyu beef and roast duck and pepper dumplings (Dhs65 each) are steaming hot mouthfuls of flavour, and with three dumplings in each bamboo steamer with row over the final one of each. Spring rolls (Dhs55) are packed with red cabbage, carrots and sweetcorn and are the perfect mix of crunchy filo pastry and soft vegetables, while the golden shrimp (Dhs75), Yingsu’s take on shrimp tempura, is cooked perfectly, flavoured with just the right amount of punchy wasabi, and served alongside sweet cubed dragonfruit and spirals of sweet potato.
For main course, we opt for a mix of the classics: sweet and sour chicken (Dhs99) gets the balance of sweet and sour just right, a chicken chow mein (Dhs85) is a generous portion, and a classic egg fried rice (Dhs45). But it’s the dishes we wouldn’t typically have gone for that most impress, like the asparagus and black truffle scallops (Dhs170). The asparagus is crunchy, scallops are tender and the truffle flavour adds a welcome richness. The only slight disappointment is the beef shortrib (Dhs295), after 96-hour slow cooking, it should melt off the bone, but instead it’s overcooked and a little tough.
Desserts conclude a meal that is consistently excellent. A melt-in-the-middle chocolate fondant (Dhs49) comes second only to the sweet Bao bun (Dhs49) a soft sweet Bao filled with chocolate and served with vanilla ice cream. We like the mango sticky rice (Dhs59), and the creamy coconut milk, but a little more mango wouldn’t go amiss.
Although when we visit the restaurant has only been open for days, it’s already got all the ingredients to become a top spot in this part of town for late night revelry and tasty, authentic food.