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  • Writer's pictureHeath Tredell

Troublesome Tattu - Manchester

We are always keen to make use of our time in places and our visit to Tattu was one such occasion. We had seen a video food review on YouTube and had heard of the expansion of the Tattu group of restaurants. The online reviewer said it was “The most beautiful place I have ever encountered…” this we had to see!

The website showed a number of awards and popular reviews so we drove from the Midlands to try it out. Tattu is in Manchester city centre and we found it quite hard to find. The building looked quite like an industrial office block but it did have an elegant look to it. Inside the décor was very nice and I remember thinking it was contemporary Chinese meets fisherman’s wharf. The walls were quite dark and this gave it a luxury feel to it and the place was adorned with interesting things to look at. A large pink blossom tree in the centre of the room took pride of place and was surrounded by large anchors, rope lights and other fake but classy flowers.

Pictures of people with tattoos mixed with other photo’s and a large open window into the kitchen showed you a well organised, clean and surprisingly quiet kitchen area. The music was soft beat and it was definitely a nice place to eat… I wouldn’t go as far as the online video reviewer, but it certainly gave you a sense of anticipation.

We had a look through the menu and the prompt service took our order. We decided to go for Menu 3 as it was a middle of the range tasting menu (they go up over £100pp). Sitting on the balcony at the rear of the restaurant we found it quite dark and were going to blame it on our poor eyesight (no we don’t wear glasses) but this was confirmed by another couple who complained they couldn’t see their menu.

The table had already been laid with red chopsticks, knife, fork, a saucer and a napkin and within ten minutes of ordering the first course arrived. When I removed my napkin, my plate was dirty and I had to ask for a new one.. not a great start for a restaurant so adept at putting on a nice atmosphere. Pook watched on as the waiter took our plate away and replaced it with a clean one and decided to check her cutlery. Upon first inspection she didn’t have too much confidence as one side was definitely cleaner than the other, this was confirmed after she used her napkin to clean it. Really not a great start.

"Wave One" was seared Tuna with ponzu, truffle aioli and caviar; sadly we found the caviar uninspiring and without taste, but it did go well with the beautifully soft tuna. The Japanese Ponzu was lovely and the truffle mayo made it a nice dish.

With this came a BBQ sampler which was honey glazed duck, short rib, pork belly and char sui iberico. These were all on a large black plate and surrounded some picked garnish. This was a tasty dish and one we relished. The duck was soft and with the honey glaze had a mild of sweetness and was certainly not overly foul in taste which can put me off. The square shaped beef was also soft and moist and had a hint of chilli heat to it. The BBQ pork belly was beautiful and probably stole the show here as its crispy skin fell off the rendered down meat beautifully. The char-sui roast ham slices let this dish down slightly, we know that the Chinese culture is to eat fatty meats like this but we found these to be a bit too greasy and fatty for our liking.

The third dish of Wave One was a small basket of Dim Sum. Pook loves Dim Sum and the spicy red wagyu beef ones were particularly nice in the soft pasta coats. These left a warm glow in your mouth and were very nice.

The Thai chicken Dim Sum was a nice oriental fusion with coconut and mint and crispy bits adorned the top.. this kept taste buds tantalised. The final Dim Sum in the basket, were the white prawn dumplings called Har Gao. These came with a soy-filled lancet that you could use to add the soy to the centre of the dumplings. These were meaty but strangely stodgy.

"Wave Two" consisted of four dishes. The first of which was a Giant King Prawn with Yuzu pepper and smoked garlic and Pook was particularly looking forward to this. On the bamboo mat this looked lovely and I could almost hear Pook salivate in anticipation. Immediately however, the excited smile turned to disappointment. She asked me to taste it to confirm, but the giant prawn was not meaty in texture but soft and powdery meaning it was old and certainly not fresh. She said the Yuzu pepper was nice and the oil had a hint of lemon flavour which was pleasant; but the prawn itself was certainly not good.

The waiter who had previously taken the dirty plate away listened intently to Pook’s comments and went to speak with the chef.

On his return he apologised and said they would knock it off the the bill. They didn't offer a substitution nor offered to replace it with another prawn.

This left Pook having to share with me my main course. With this "wave" came a beef fillet dish. It was presented on a long plate with a small bowl of caramel soy. It was well cooked and very nice and it had arrived with some shiitake mushrooms and a couple of asparagus sticks. It had been prepared well and had a nice crunch. The caramelised miso sauce brought this dish together well.

They did knock Pook’s prawn dish off the bill at the end of the meal but that wasn’t what we really wanted. These dishes were served with some mixed vegetables of steamed cabbage and mange tout with ginger shards. Now maybe by this point we were starting to become over critical but even when I think about it afterwards the cabbage was very soft and quite tasteless, apart that is, from a small quantity of sauce in centre. We asked for some soy sauce so we could add it to the cabbage. The waiter brought us a bottle and after we had added this to our food, we told the waiter they could take the bottle away again (to let someone else have it if they wanted). He promptly told us that the bottle belonged to the table… meaning this should have been present from the start of the meal. The final element of this dish was sausage fried rice and duck egg. I am not a fan of Chinese sausage rice usually, but this was nice and flavoursome with duck egg mixed in. "Wave Three" was dessert and Pook chose "Cherry Blossom". This was the best dish and a nice way to finish off what had been a less than perfect meal. The cherry blossom ice cream with chocolate crumb was almost like a mousse it was that creamy and silky. Chunks of caramel chocolate and a candyfloss flag on dark chocolate poles went well with some cherry compote. Pook had a smile on her face once more!

I chose the chocolate fondant which was cooked very well and was lovely and gooey in the middle. It was sat in the centre of a red dish and was surrounded by honeycomb, honey and cherry compote and a chocolate crumb with caramel ice cream soy. Very nice!!

In summary, Tattu was a bit of a disappointment. Dirty cutlery, less than perfect dishes and a prompt and professional service but not wholly welcoming or friendly. We found that at £62pp this was poor value for money. We probably wouldn’t eat here again out of choice but might return for a dessert… for that reason we would drive a mere 5 miles to return here.

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