Tattu, Gartside Street, 3 Hardman Square, Manchester, M3 3EB – Visit Now
Tattu in Spinningfields has to be one of the most magical-looking restaurants in Manchester. Here’s a sneak preview of how an evening here should unfold. First, grab one of the wonderful cocktails at the downstairs bar. Soon you’ll be led upstairs to an indoor fairyland of illuminated cherry blossom trees and black lacquered, Japanese-emulating, semi-private booths.
This winter, they’ve launched the new ‘Great Snow’ menu which the maitre d’ advises is best enjoyed in waves, so start with some beautiful dim sum. From the steamed section we try a Thai twist on the classic Chinese soup dumpling, xiao long bao. Whereas normally you’d poke your chopstick into one of these intricately pleated, round dumplings and slurp out hot soup, here you’ll find a delicious coconut-infused Thai red chicken curry.
The fried pulled pork gyoza with slaw, chilli oil and five-spiced black vinegar is excellent, but the star of the dim sum show has to be a bamboo steamer of wagyu beef dumplings. The jewel-red pyramids are light, pleasing to the eye, and their filling has a wonderfully spicy, strong beef flavour enhanced with kimchi and spring onion.
The next wave comes from the small plates section and starts with Szechuan rock shrimp. Cooked in a spicy tempura batter and served with carrot and pickle, these lobster-flavoured members of the prawn family are a novel delight. Then croquettes made with black cod (a Japanese favourite), which are piping hot, crisp, light and fluffy. The ginger and garlic aioli alongside them is a match made in dipping heaven.
The last dish of this wave is a surefire classic: sticky beef short rib. These cubes of rich, fatty, tender beef glazed in soy and chilli are a flavour sensation. Crispy shallots on top only add to the joy of eating, and we’d put money on you returning again and again for more. In the Premier League of Manchester dishes, they’re a strong contender for the top spot.
From the mains, we are offered more ribs (because why not?) in the form of black pepper and honey lamb ribs. They’re sweet, sticky and delicious – especially paired with a side of addictive XO fried rice including shrimp, chicken and pancetta. The real wow factor comes from an incredible dish of honey roast Chilean sea bass, served with an enoki mushroom fritter and chilli. Hot, smokey and honeyed: you’ve never tasted perfectly cooked, flaky sea bass quite like this before.
The dessert looks like a miniature snow-topped Mount Fuji, but is actually modelled on its namesake, Mount Heng in China. It’s a baked Alaska dessert with Maraschino cherry, hazelnuts and ice cream hiding beneath pastry slopes topped with coconut meringue. Flambéed at the table, it makes quite the spectacle to end a sumptuous banquet.
For an evening of high-end, Asian-inspired cuisine in a luxurious, romantically lit setting, look no further.