By Jo Cooksey
What do you get if you cross Oriental fine dining with fine art? You get Tattu in Manchester. Some of the most visually impactful food around and it tastes damn good too.
We recently went back to Tattu after a gap of about two years and nothing had changed, and I mean that as a compliment. The artistry of the chefs is up there with the best in the business, providing a feast for the senses. As Tattu themselves say they ‘take you on a sensory journey.’
I love the décor in this restaurant. Even in the daylight it has a dark, sensual feel to it and at night it transforms in to something quite magical. Of course, there is also the famous cherry tree in ‘full blossom’ in the restaurant. We were shown to a table upstairs and our server, Dean introduced himself. Note to the Tattu management, Dean is brilliant at his job. He is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and great fun. He definitely enhanced our experience.
As we had come to try some dishes and cocktails off the new Autumn menu, we asked Dean for his recommendations and at his suggestion to begin with we had the Spicy Iberico Pork Wonton. Gleaming, scarlet steamed parcels filled with tender, spicy pork and accompanied by a Szechuan sauce. These were too spicy for our photographer, but I adored them. Plus, as with every dish at Tattu, they looked so pretty. Alongside the wontons were Chilli and Sesame Roasted Scallops with Chinese sausage, crushed edamame, mint and served in a shell that was perched on little pile of sea salt. Delicate, sweet and utter heaven. There were also Sticky Red Prawns with atop little croquettes of bread crumbed sushi rice. Amazing. Dean also bought us our old favourite of Sticky Beef Short Rib, cooked in soy, honey and chilli until it virtually melts in the mouth and dressed with spring onion, chilli and crispy shallots. I could actually eat this every single day of my life.
To accompany the starters, we ordered cocktails. I prefer a tall drink, so I ordered the Koko Tattu, a tropical blend of coconut rum, lychee and lime. Our snapper likes something shorter, so she went with the Apple Blossom, which mingled gin with apple and jasmine. Excellent choices.
The next part of our culinary experience were the mains. As I write this, I am smiling at the memory of the two dishes recommended. Chicken rolled with Wild Mushrooms and Truffle and served with teriyaki sauce, crispy lotus root, crispy chicken skin, spinach and chive flowers. Also, Saffron Black Cod cooked in miso and topped with a shell filled with Chinese sausage and razor clams. Both dishes were utterly beautiful to look at and to eat. I particularly fell in love with the cod. The fish was plump, firm and juicy and the gentle umami of the miso mingled perfectly with the honeyed notes of the saffron, adding depth to the subtle flavours.
We were definitely in our happy place now and our tummies were certainly full. I know we don’t say this often, but we were actually considering giving dessert a miss, until the ever-smiling Dean came back and tempted us with words like chocolate, crumble and cherries.
‘No, honestly we couldn’t, Dean. Really. Oh, go on then.’ Moments later three plates appeared. Wow! We had White Chocolate Igloos served with a shimmering blood orange gel, blood orange sorbet, coconut snow and a delicate vanilla tuile. Then there was an Asian Pear Crumble, which was so pretty and Instagrammable with its bright pink custard, poached pear cubes, green apple gel and magenta pear cake. Flavour-wise though it was a little ordinary. Don’t get me wrong, in any other setting it would be a dish of lovely, sweet comforting tastes but at Tattu I guess I was expecting a little more. As if all this wasn’t enough the third plate contained a miniature version of Tattu’s famous cherry blossom tree in dessert form, perched on top of glass bowl of dry ice. More theatre. A chocolate trunk and branches supported candy floss blossom and its roots were firmly planted in a chocolate ‘soil, which when you dug in your spoon revealed a mouth-wateringly cherry mousse. The combination of these dishes and a Mint Chocolate Espresso Martini were utter heaven. We’d willingly come back for the desserts alone and happily eat ourselves in to a sugar coma.
Speaking of which, would we come back? I don’t think anyone would have any doubts that the answer to that is a big fat yes. When you go to Tattu, you don’t just have great food in intriguing surroundings, you have an experience.
We were guests of Tattu but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.