WINTER. Time to wrap your body art in woolies and add some warming spice to your diet. Not that Tattu is going over to stews in its new seasonal menu, but the 15 new dishes from dim sum through to dessert do offer a culinary glow (in contrast to the penumbral lighting and the deep blue hues of its iconic mutating dining room tree.
The food focus remains ‘Contemporary Chinese’, the presentation playful and arty, which works best in the smaller dishes. Our two mains were quite a contrast, the gorgeous Yuzu Black Cod (£30.50), encompassing night shades of squid ink and nori, had a sweet and savoury umami quality that was quite addictive; the Szechuan Lobster (£50) swamped beautiful crustacean flesh with numbing Szechuan pepper and Shaoxing wine. It didn’t help that, instead of accompanying it with fragrant plain rice, we went for assertive shrimp, scallop and pancetta XO fried rice (£6).
A good way to approach the new food offering is via three seasonal sharing menus. We got a flavour of these by allowing our server to bring us a couple of rounds of small plates.
Stand-outs? Steamed dim sum of Chicken Xiao Long Bao (£6.50), featuring Red Thai curry, shallots and coconut and, more black cod and squid ink this with prawn and edamame. Also loved cute little deconstructed Peking Duck Bon Bons with hoisin, cherry and sesame (£11) and a side of sweet soy grilled asparagus £5.50. But deep-fried Kimchi
Crab Cakes (£7.50) were stodgy and dull despite the chilli and soy aioli.
Of two recommended desserts Baked Lotus Flower with lavender, yuzu and honey (£9) was astonishingly beautiful even in the blue tree gloaming with delicate textures and flavours – Tattu really pulling it off here; a chocolate fondant with orange and winter spices, a little over-sweet but perfect wintry comfort pud.
From the revamped cocktail list best winter warmer? Art of War, definitely, which blends whisky, cherry and orange.
Tattu, 72 Gartside Street, Manchester M3 3EB. 0161 819 2060. The new a la carte menu is available daily from 12pm. There is also a new dim sum lunch menu, served Mon-Thu 12pm-3pm and Fri-Sun 12pm-5pm, as well as the Taste of Tattu menu served Sat-Thu 12pm-3pm and 12pm-5pm on Fridays.