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Restaurant Review: Tattu, Hardman Square in Manchester

Tattu, Hardman Square in Manchester

In the heart of Manchester’s financial district, you’ll find a pocket of Shanghai. Tattu is a sleek, cosmopolitan restaurant that offers contemporary Chinese cuisine in stunning surroundings.

Tattu has only been open for two years but has already built a reputation as one of Manchester’s best restaurants. Not only is does it open as an eatery but a cocktail bar too. My good friend Jodie and I headed down on a gloomy Wednesday night in February when both areas had a lively atmosphere.

The restaurant’s unique interior merges traditional oriental design with body art and tattoo illustration; it’s an odd but strangely stunning combination. The dining space is decadent but relaxed. A four-metre, pink, cherry-blossom tree stands in the middle of the restaurant floor, its branches carefully twisted to billow over intimate booths. The ceiling is thatched with long lantern-like lamp shades dangling down: it’s completely unlike any other Manchester venue.

Tattu is both a bar and a restaurant
Tattu is both a bar and a restaurant

The bar is also sumptuous with dark-chocolate leather booths and mahogany, wooden walls. It boasts a great selection of cocktails, many inspired by tattoo designs. I tried the gin based Old School Rose and Jodie opted for the Peep Show Bellini, a combination of prosecco, mango and passionfruit – it was as exciting to taste as the name suggests. Their attentive barman came over to check the drinks were to our satisfaction and offered to tweak them depending on our preference for sweet/sour flavours. In addition to cocktails, Tattu also offer an impressive selection of sakes, spirits, wines and draught beer.

After finishing our drinks we were taken to our table where we were introduced to our waitress for the evening. Gurda, like all the other staff we dealt with, was warm but not in your face, and had an amazing knowledge of the menu.

The menu is divided into three sections; Dim-Sum, small plates and main courses. After a long deliberation we opted for two dim-sum dishes (Shitake Dumplings and Sea Bass Parcels) and a small plate (Seared Tuna) to start.

The seabass parcels were insanely tasty: the fish was steamed, wrapped in spinach and drizzled in a sweet orange vinegar. The subtle zesty flavour complimented the fish beautifully.

The shitake dumplings were delicious; the dough was light and the mushroom filling had a deep, woody flavour, which worked well with the accompanying sweet soy sauce. You get four dim-sum per dish but I could have eaten many, many more!

As if the two dim-sum dishes couldn’t get any better, the seared tuna with lemon and seven spice was the cherry on top. The fish was cooked to perfection and, when paired with the zesty sauce, was a match made in heaven. In addition to the vinegars/sauces served with the dishes, we were also brought a tray of spicy dips.

Caramel Soy Beef Fillet
Caramel Soy Beef Fillet

For our main course, Jodie ordered the Caramel Soy Beef Fillet and I opted for the Chilean Sea Bass (yes, more sea bass!) with a black bean, garlic and ginger sauce.

The beef was melt-in-your-mouth and cooked exactly as Jodie requested. It was served on a bed of asparagus with a sprinkling of shitake mushroom, which added texture to the dish. The caramel sauce was like nothing we had tried before-it was rich and sweet and worked beautifully with the salty, soy flavours.

The steamed seabass was the best I’ve ever had! The course involves four chunky fillets of bass, which flake beautifully! It was served on a bed of Pak Choi which had been marinated in the ginger and chilli sauce. It was heaven on a plate!

Most main plates don’t come with a side, we found one steamed rice was enough for two people.

Tattu’s menus is very light and therefore we both had room for dessert! Jodie and I shared both the Cherry Blossom Chocolate and the Banana Fritters.

The Cherry Blossom was a playground on a plate and was a joy to taste. The dish was made up of an assortment of bitesize cherry-flavoured treats from mini macaroons to candy floss and ice cream. To even out the tart, sour flavour of the fruit, the dessert came with dark chocolate twigs and a gold- coated chocolate mousse. None of the elements were heavy, so we didn’t walk away feeling stodgy- it was sheer perfection!

The Cherry Blossom Chocolate Dessert
The Cherry Blossom Chocolate Dessert

The Banana Fritter was served on a bed of hazelnut crumb with a maple syrup ice cream, and topped with caramelized banana. Just like the cherry blossom, it was a showstopper of a desert, presented on dry ice. Again, Tattu achieved the impossible, and ensured the pudding was light, and not like any other fritters I’ve tasted. It’s safe to say we left the restaurant with a feeling of contentment!

In a nutshell:
Luxury Chinese food can often be hard to come by, but Tattu is an exception. The menu remains traditional in terms of offering oriental flavours, but applies them differently. I found myself excited by the menu, which for me, is rare when it comes to Chinese cuisine. Whether you’re seeking a cool spot for after work drinks, or want amazing food, in stunning surroundings, look no further than Tattu.

Address: Tattu, 3 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB
Telephone: 0161 819 2060