More than 500 Houston foodies and fashionistas packed Yauatcha for the upscale dim sum restaurant's much-anticipated opening soiree, and its owners pulled out all the stops to make them feel welcome.
Upon arriving at the Galleria's "jewel box" location, guests were greeted with bright red and vibrant blue Chinese dancing lions, masked Buddhas, and percussionists, as well as a 20-foot dragon perched atop the building. A social media booth at the red carpet entrance gave partygoers a quick photo-op with pretty-in-pink Yauatcha "Umbrella Girls" before entering the sleek space accentuated by cool blue lighting and modern furnishings.
Wine and champagne passed by waitstaff eased the line at the bar where bartenders crafted exotic cocktails like the Nashi Momo made with Elyx vodka, peach liqueur, pear, lemon, coconut and guava. The glamorous crowd noshed on a scrumptious selection of executive chef Ho Chee Boon's specialties, including baked Chilean sea bass, grilled Wagyu beef with black pepper sauce, roasted duck and pan-seared chicken and shrimp Shanghai dumplings.
An elegant assortment of patisseries created by executive pastry chef Graham Hornigold featured the Cassis Grand Macaron with apple, Calvados raisin, crème diplomat, and crumble choux.
Matthew Tuttle, aka DJ Shoe, flew in from Las Vegas to pump out a groovy mix of music with an international lounge vibe. Tuttle is music director for Hakkasan Group, the global hospitality company that owns Yauatcha. Also jetting in were CEO Nick McCabe, vice president of business development Angela Lester, executive marketing vice president Dianna Balabon and executive vice president of global restaurants Gert Kopera.
The new Houston restaurant is the first Yauatcha location to open in the continental United States (a Waikiki location opened in February). The all-day dining concept also features a patisserie and teahouse serving over 30 teas.
Among the stylish luminaries on the scene were Kam Franklin, Bun B, Carrie and Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, Courtney and Bo Hopson, Lucia and Michael Cordúa, Levi Goode, Annie Amante, Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, Ursaline Hamilton, Johnny So, Miya Shay, Chita Craft, Karen and Murry Penner, Thuy Tran, Carolyn Farb, Adrian Dueñas and Marcelo Saenz, Katherine and Bill Phelps, Dominique Sachse and Nick Florescu, Diane Lokey Farb, Joyce Echols and Steve Wyatt, Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Tatiana Massey, Marc Nguyen and Duyen Huynh, Erin Florescu, Colin Moussa, and Karen Payne.