Tattu, Gartside Street, 3 Hardman Square, Manchester, M3 3EB – Visit Now
A new menu at Tattu, arguably our favourite Spinningfields’ restaurant is always something to get excited about, and this latest menu looks to be one of their best yet. The list of dishes on offer is smaller – no more flicking through countless pages, but no less exciting. We take a long, luxurious trip through the majority of the new dishes, courtesy of our delightfully friendly and wildly-knowledgable waiter.
Tattu is one of the city’s best restaurants for a reason
The sticky beef short rib is the first sit-up-and-take notice dish. Five hefty chunks of slow-cooked beef, tumbling apart beautifully, packed with soy and chilli flavours, plus a handful of crispy shallots over the lot. They’re phenomenal, a handful of bitesize snacks that would be one of the lead dishes at lesser restaurants.
Then the soft shell crab XO. These small plate dishes arrive as and when, tapas-style, which works perfectly for the laid-back but high-end feel at Tattu. The crab is as good as it gets, coated in a feather-light crispy batter, with a fearsome green chilli towering over it, spring onion, coriander and some mysterious but class-A addictive black spice thrown over the lot. Imagine if your favourite low-down dirty Chinese takeaway hired a chef from Noma – this is that.
The Asian style beef carpaccio is good, but if we’re honest, it pales a little next to the other dishes. This consists of slices of thin silky bacon (more like high-end jambon than thick cut bacon, mind), kimchi, and sriracha aioli, scattered with lotus crisps. It’s not the most exciting new dish, but a nice introduction to the kind of food on offer at Tattu. It’s original, interesting and somewhat healthy(ish).
The mains continue to impress. The ribeye steak bulgogi – a Korean term that translates as ‘fire meat’ – is another example of Tattu’s chefs doing magical things with beef. The cubes of flash-fried beef come resting on an odd half-shell of conjoined crispy noodles that can safely be ignored (it’s not bad, per se, just not the star of the show), and thick chunks of perfectly-cooked baby leek and eryngli mushroom. A sweet sesame soy swirls through the whole dish – it’s intoxicatingly good.
The wok fired angry bird has too good a title to ignore. A pot of fried and lightly-battered chicken, plus roasted chilli peppers and sesame honey soy – it’s the best Chinese-influenced chicken dish in the city, by a long way, and makes the perfect match to Tattu’s legendary XO fried rice (a bowl of rice, fried up with chicken, shrimp and pancetta).
By the time dessert rolls around, I’ve usually fallen victim to, as my dear old mum puts it, “eyes bigger than your belly”, but this time I’m careful to leave room. The Asian pea sticky toffee pudding is a wonder – a neat cuboid of squishy, sticky pudding, topped with thin slices of Asian pear and a blob of ice cream, plus a little pot of toffee sauce to pour over it. Plus a big sprig of cinnamon plonked on it, for good measure. It’s great.
The revelled wontons are a cute new idea – six wontons, each with a mystery flavour (well, not that much of a mystery – they’re either chilli, orange or coffee) and a blob of sauce to dip them into. Both my guest and I are averse to coffee, which adds an amusing tension to the end of the meal – we strike gold with our first choices and daren’t take the risk, leaving two wontons sadly uneaten. It’s not the most impressive dessert Tattu have ever done, but it’s certainly a fun little diversion.
Tattu is one of the city’s best restaurants for a reason. The chefs push the envelope, meaning the whole experience is never less than incredibly special. This is food that both looks and tastes incredible.