OUTSIDE ToM Towers the last of the vernal blossom is being scattered by Storm Hannah. So we’ve been seeking consolation in the eternal springtime that inhabits Tattu.
In China each spring they celebrate the return of the cherry blossom season, a symbol of power, strength and good fortune… and so does the Spinningfields restaurant, which majors in contemporary Chinese cuisine.
Seated under the dazzling canopy of their indoor tree, we succumbed to a spirited rather than spiritual homage to the cherry god – their Cherry Blossom Negoni, a £10 cocktail blending the standard gin and campari with their own cherry blossom vermouth.
It was a gorgeous start to a sampling of their new spring/summer menu bookended by another, more spectacular cherry twist – cherry blossom chocolate mousse accompanied by candyfloss on chocolate ‘branches’ served in a huge gushing of dry ice (£9).
Like its fellow dessert, a white chocolate and citrus cheesecake with lime, matcha and strawberry (also £9) it was large and slightly overwhelming. Odd when the rest of the meal was a subtle, playful array of dishes from a kitchen with a high level of consistency when handling pan-Asian influences.
Fried wild mushroom spring rolls (£8.50) are an old favourite finger food, dunked in an earthy truffle cream. Equally good were new arrivals on the steamed dim sum list – black cod parcels with spinach, candied orange and orange ponzu (£10) and rock shrimp and scallop gau, topped with cucumber and wasabi tobiko (£8).
‘Tobiko’ is a new word for us, meaning wild fish roe; ditto ‘sashizza’, apparently a kind of Japanese taco or mini-pizza that has wowed Australia. Tattu’s version (four for £9) offers raw (or delicately cured?) salmon, cluttering the tiny canape-like bases with yuzu kosho aioli, truffle tapenade and pickled cucumber.
When in doubt apply miso has long been a mantra for many Asian fusion places and it features with both salmon and chicken in Tattu’s new season dishes. We chose the latter, the sticky miso sauce in a little pot to pour over the chicken that had been steamed in a lotus leaf over shiitake mushroom, pak choi and sticky rice with a chilli kick (£19)).
Equally successful was a quartet of substantial lamb cutlets, spicy with red pepper with further bite from hot and sour pumpkin (£24).
Both sides we ordered were bold in their spicing – a take on sweet potato fries that featured small cubes with Szechuan, spring onion and sweet and sour salt (£6) and a black sesame and truffle dressing that gave tenderstem broccoli (£5) an unexpected wow factor.
Both of these would be great vegan dishes in their own right but the new menu is full of attractive plant-based options such as a mixed dim sum basket with shiitake and aubergine and Szechuan tofu hot pot with edamame and sweet basil. There’s also be a range of new signature sharing menus, available for parties of two or more priced from £35 per person. Tattu in full bloom then.
Tattu, 72 Gartside Street, Manchester M3 3EB. 0161 819 2060.