It isn’t a secret that Tattu’s cherry blossom tree is one of the most instagramable spots in Manchester.
But let’s face it, it isn’t the pretty pink tree which has us going back again and again. Tattu isn’t the kind of place you go once, take some selfies, eat some food and forget about it later. Tattu has a loyal band of followers that are in those doors at every opportunity.
And let me tell you, it has nothing to do with that tree – it is all about the food.
What’s more, their original Executive Chef is back which sees Tattu going through a period of transition – this winter Andrew Lassetter is taking Tattu back to their roots.
The new menu is an example of a cooking style which has a much more considered approach to ingredients and more nuanced flavours which is how Tattu originally approached their menu 3 years ago.
Quite frankly, I couldn’t wait to get down there and see for myself…
As a warm-up, we ordered two of the Shanghai Iced Teas which is Tattu’s take on the cocktail classic you all know and love. The Long Island Iced Tea is given a unique Chinese twist of lemon and cherry alongside the Coco Cola base. It provided a refreshing (and strong!) accompaniment to the spectacular dishes that followed…
We kicked things off with the Sticky Red Prawns. These bright red morsels of prawn were coated in a sticky honey sauce, spiked with chilli and served aloft a little pillow of crispy rice.
The latter element of the dish brought even more texture to the dish, and I assure you, you will never want to eat rice any other way ever again.
The prawns themselves were small, sweet and tender. You could taste the freshness from that signature ‘bite’ you get from the texture which we are all looking for in fresh seafood. These tiny prawns are a great example of Tattu using the freshest and finest of ingredients in every part of every dish.
Sticking with shellfish, we sampled next the Chilli & Sesame Scallops. For the most part, I ordered this dish out of curiosity – a part of our personalities which Tattu tends to tickle time and time again.
It consists of 3 generous pan-fried King Scallops served on a bed of crushed edamame and mint, peppered with the sweet Chinese sausage and a little crispy mint to finish.
Obviously, I was curious about the sausage. The combination of scallops with meat is a tried and tested one- so the sausage was destined to work well.
However, it was the subtle sweet notes of the scallops that did it for me in a dish that is best described as delicate in a way I did not expect. I am glad my curiosity got the better of me.
Next up were the Drunken Chicken Wings which was a simple dish, executed perfectly. Tattu took the liberty of tidying their chicken wings up before coating them in crispy panko breadcrumbs which ensured a pleasurable eating experience with minimal fuss.
Alongside these wings was a Tonkatzu sauce (the sweet sticky soy-based kind you alongside katsu pork in Japan) and a Yuzu aioli which I was lapping up happily with my chicken.
When it comes to the starters, I have decided to save the best until last. The Spicy Iberico Pork Wanton from the dim sum menu was good, so good in fact that they made it on to my list of ‘Best Things We Ate this Week – which is quite an achievement when you eat out as much as me (what a hard life).
Quite frankly, these dumplings blew my mind. Stuffed with big, chunky bits of Iberico pork, seasoned to perfection, paired with peanut for a bit of crunch and Szechuan chilli for a hit of (very welcome) heat.
These wantons with their red skins were so much more than mere substance and style – these are what good food is all about.
We couldn’t say no to another round of cocktails – so we ordered a fruity Ching Shih with notes of rum, apple and chilli and the Emperor’s Spice with whiskey, cinnamon and maple syrup – winter perfection.
After all those starters, I was getting worried about fitting in the main courses we ordered, but nevertheless – the choice on offer (and my curiosity) won out in the end.
We opted to try the Wild Mushroom and Truffle Baby Chicken alongside the White Miso Salmon, two new dishes that aim to develop Lassetter’s more nuanced and balanced flavours.
My previously stuffed disposition was all forgotten as soon as I saw and smelt the dishes as they came towards me.
I’m not going to pick a favourite because the truth is I couldn’t if I tried. The former – the chicken – was tender, flavorful and bold. It was basically served like a ballotine with the earthy stuffing of mushrooms and truffles being in the middle.
One thing I loved about this dish was the crispy lotus root crisps on the side – an attractive and tasty addition to the chicken which also added texture to the dish.
The crispy chicken skin peppered around the plate was good too and brought a welcome crunch to every mouthful.
The Miso Salmon came with an equivalent amount of pleasure. I liked that the staff asked us that it was going to be cooked rare when we came to order- I am of the school of thought that fish is best eaten raw or cooked very lightly, so it is safe to say I was impressed from the get-go.
And it did not let me down.
The fish was perfectly soft and flavourful after its 24-hour stint in the white miso marinade. Served simply with a side of pickled ginger and lime, this dish was everything I ever needed and more – the things pescatarian dreams are made of.
Miso is a flavour which is used heavily in Japanese cuisine. It is a fermented paste made from soybeans with a distinct salty-sweet flavour. This complemented the salmon beautifully, and not only did it have the subtle miso flavour running through the meat (a result of the marinading process) the sauce on top added a little extra oomph towards the end. Top marks.
If you can believe it, I couldn’t say no to dessert when we were asked. I was told that the White Chocolate Igloos were a must, and a must they are.
I do not know how I should begin to describe them to you but it was a dish so pretty it wouldn’t be out of place in a glittering snow globe.
The igloo itself was formed of a white chocolate semifreddo (which is a fancy word for ice cream).
This was served with blood orange sorbet, a vanilla biscuit, tart blood orange gel and coconut snow- this was a beautifully formed dish which has winter wonderland written all over it.
If you cannot fit a dessert in, I would suggest you go for a cocktail instead and one which teeters on the edge of everything you are craving after a heavy meal.
The Mint Chocolate Espresso Martini kicks that coffee, digestif and mint hankering you will almost certainly have after fine dining experience such as this. Order it – you won’t regret it I promise.
Those of you reading this will know from the beginning that Tattu was going to get a glittering review. They always do because what they do is faultless. If anything was a testament to this, it would be this new menu which harks back to the beginning of Tattu and offers a range of dishes which are much more considered and exciting than the last- if that is even possible.
Tattu, Gartside Street, 3 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB
0161 819 2060