First impressions from Yukti were gleaned from their presence at the 2013 Liverpool Food and Drink Festival at Sefton Park; their dosas surprisingly tasty and competently prepared and other smaller bites enticing enough to warrant further investigation beyond the confines of the city centre and along Prescot Road.
At first glance, there was a very polished feel to the inside of Yukti, with soft blue lighting, brushed steel and dark hardwood rubbing shoulders with some traditional British curry house touches of ornate decoration and splashes of colour from pictures depicting scenes from Indian literature and life. The setting is ultimately comfortable and airy with some more intimate seating arrangements present at the sides of the restaurant.
Following being led to the table, we were presented with an amuseé bouche consisting of some Chennai Chickpea bites, a staple street food from the region, in Yukti these were crisp and earthy, with a mild spicing and no hint of excess oil. For the starter, the Mixed Platter consisted of four different components; the salmon was exceptional, charred to provide a smoky flavour, but it retained moisture in a well-balanced herb crust, perfectly cooked and succulent.
The seehk kebab was soft with a good resistance to the bite and spiced as such, allowing the meat to compliment the additional spices. The lamb starter was also incredibly satisfying; soft and tender again continuing the theme of complimentary spice. The addition of a gooseberry chutney and pea shoots provided respective acidity and freshness to cut through the fattier meat. The platter also had additional attractive flourishes from red sorrel and pea puree to feed the eye.
The Duck for main course was excellent, soft and tender with a hint of pinkness, crisp skin and no residual fattiness or greasiness. This dish was complimented with an acidic and sweet berry sauce, the vegetables were no doubt cooked well, but the broccoli and cauliflower could have done with something extra to kick the dish up a notch, as it was a little flat beyond the duck breast and sauce, crying out for one more element to provide that feeling of completeness.
The Biryani dishes were presented in a pie crust, with fluffy rice with once again, a pleasant level of spice and plenty of pockets of flavour, although there was the feeling that the dish was a little one dimensional in terms of texture and elements contained therein. All the curries were excellent, accompanied by a silence over the table for the most part; it was observed that there was no surface oiliness, which often accompanies a curry that has been left to rest too long before it leaves the kitchen. The measured application of spices throughout afforded a clear definition between the curry types, promising care and attention on behalf of the chef.
The sea bass was also a delight, cooked perfectly no application of heavy spices to preserve the delicate flavours, a salty and sweet bass tang augmented by the cooking allowing the sweet and moist flakes of sea bass to fall apart. The Chickpea and spinach gateau accompanying the sea bass provided an earthy tanginess to the fish, a good contrast of flavours and of textures. The Paneer was also excellent. A tasty, salty dish and accompanied by the now thematic level of perfect spice to allowed the salty tang of the cheese, which retained the driving seat in the dish.
The Dessert menu was notably balanced too, providing some excellent options. Alas, without wearing for forgiving trousers, there was only room for one dessert, an excellent chocolate mousse with berries and a thin veneer of strawberry jelly, closing off a rewarding experience.
Finally, the wine menu was very good value and it was pleasing to see some different and notable quality on offer rather than the usual ‘afterthought’ which often is on display at Indian style restaurants. Many grapes and styles were on offer to accompany deep cumin driven dishes, lighter bodied reds for chicken and vegetable dishes, a very balanced pinot noir for the duck and classy whites nodding at the seafood on the menu.
Overall, there was little fault with the cooking on offer; the front of house was competent and not overbearing in the slightest. One gets the feeling, if the location of Yukti were a little more accessible to the city centre dweller, there would be no shortage of people clamouring for no small step up in class provided by the team here. It is worth stepping off the beaten track and down to the Old Swan for an excellent experience where the influence of the sub-continent and classic British cooking meet.
Until next time!
393 Prescot Road,
Tel: 0151 228 2225