What better way to kick off the New Year than with a Chinese restaurant that was undoubtedly one of Manchester’s most talked about dining destinations in 2015. You don’t open a new venue with a big pink tree right in the middle of it and sneak under the radar, but as glamourous as that fit out was, the food set tongues wagging too. So it’s fair to say I’ve been waiting rather impatiently for this one, and with Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations about to get started and bigger than ever, it had to be the right time to check out Tattu.
Whether by accident or design I always seem to end up with cocktails from the more ‘fruity’ end of the spectrum, I’m not quite talking umbrellas and pineapple wedges, but they ain’t the manliest of drinks. To buck the trend and try something different I went for the Smokin’ Aces, a tumbler of chipotle spiced rum and rye endowed with a smoking bullet for good measure. It surely doesn’t get much more macho than that. Chillis, smoke, ammo, it hit the spot. Equally theatrical was the Death Before Dishonour, a bubbling bottle of bourbon and berries that looked like it had been lifted from a mad scientists lab. It was difficult to get a photo to do either justice but take it from me they’re definitely worth a visit alone.
Drinks fizzing and billowing, we dived straight in to a generous mix of dim sum and small plates that barely squeezed on to our amply sized table. Beef and foie gras gyoza were as decadent as they sound, wagyu dumplings, more delicate but just as rich in flavour and probably my favourite dish of the lot. Pork belly’s always popular when I’m around and these tasty cubes of meat and crunch were crispy and sticky in equal measure thanks to a black vinegar, soy and ginger marinade. The kataifi black cod rolls are beautiful little bites of fish surrounded by shredded filo pastry, kind of reminiscent of shredded wheat to look at but taste rather better (you heard it hear first). Finally another bowlful of seafood in the form of chilli salt baby squid that remained nicely tender inside its light batter.
It was more catch of the day for mains as well as we enjoyed the Chilean sea bass in a fragrant, almost buttery sauce of black bean, shaoxing wine, garlic and ginger. Canadian lobster with wasabi gratin whilst not the most traditionally Chinese thing on the menu was impressive nonetheless. On the side we had the very wholesome option of steamed mix veg plus green beans in xo sauce, which I’ll admit I could’ve got through about 5 bowls of if no one was looking.
Our desserts were all well composed, perhaps even more elegant than the courses we’d already enjoyed. In particular, the cherry blossom was an attractive arrangement of textures – merangue, candied cherries and candy floss amongst other things. The chocolate satay brought together peanut, ice cream, brownie and a macaron. Perhaps the one I was least happy to share with anyone else was buddha’s hand, a delicious velvety smooth posset that finished our meal off perfectly.
If you’re reading this in January, there’s still time to get all of this for half price, if that’s not a good enough reason to sack off the diet/Dry January/Veganuary/enforced month of misery I don’t know what is. Either way, as you’ll be able to tell from the rather pinkish glow on all the photos, everything looks pretty rosey when you’re in Tattu. So if you feel like treating yourself at any time of the year, there’s no better place to beat the blues.