Putting iconic date night spot Tattu Manchester to the test? Since it's renowned in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and our city, you can bet I jumped at the chance. Once I was told I'd be eating my way through the small plates at this contemporary Chinese restaurant, well, I was doubly impressed. So, I practically skipped over to Spinningfields one evening for a romantic meal between two, surrounded by those truly Instagrammable interiors.
On arrival to this sleek spot, we settled down in the firm leather of our Chesterfield-style booth at the downstairs bar area. These seats came complete with a full bloom rose trellis behind and lanterns aplenty, creating an extra romantic mood. We appreciated the more chilled out vibe compared to the bustling main restaurant above, happily trading the view of the blossom tree up there for our sexy, intimate setting.
Hoping the cocktails would have us drooling as much as the setting itself? You needn't worry. This list of bad boys was right up our street, so we could've easily had a sample of every single one. First though, we settled on an Imperial Geisha (£14) for him and a sake sour (£12) for me. The simple tequila, lemon and spiced orange mix of the former really let the spirit shine through - a definite plus, if it's your favourite like mine. My drink was a success too, having been shaken up from plum sake, vodka and passionfruit; what a combo.
Then, our stream of small plates started to arrive. Some of the best I've had to date, the black cod croquettes (£13.90) delivered more on flavour than any others I've tasted and were accompanied by a ginger-laced garlic aioli to balance the texture of the crumb. An equal triumph were the sesame roasted scallops (£19.50), which made an interesting but delicious combo with Chinese sausage, crushed edamame and mint. Completing our trio of seafood? Our favourite of the bunch: szechuan rock shrimp (£14.50). The creaminess of the sauce here was something I wasn't expecting, but it turned out to be an absolute delight - the ideal marriage for the subtle warming of pepper, crispy coating and soft, meaty prawns.
To wash these down, we just had to grab more cocktails. Mine, heady and served in a small cup cradled by a hanging lantern, was Light & Miscellany (£12), which was whipped up from rum, pineapple and Asian pear to quaffable results. My other half's drink, the aptly named Koko Tattu (£12), was delightfully strong on the tropical leaning, thanks to lychee and lime with loads of coconut rum. Cin-cin.
Our meat and veggie dishes were next up. From the super tender sticky beef short rib (£16.90) with a soy gravy to the melt in the mouth, sumptuously sticky red belly pork (£14.50), the meals here are bound to impress carnivores. My highlight of the night, though, was the salt and pepper aubergine (£10.50), which had the perfect batter and a punchy five spice-laden flavour to match.
Last of all, those must-have post-dinner drinks. Even if I'd only had my stand-out cocktail of the night, the Chestnut Flip (£12), Tattu would have me coming back for more. Earthy and fruity in perfect balance, this one was a totally dreamy muddle of chestnut gin, Yunnan tea, strawberry and almond. Would I bathe in the stuff? Quite probably. Meanwhile, the Lucky Number 8 (£12.50) was my partner's pick, a boozy medley with Maker's Mark and chilli rum, alongside a chocolate hint. This smoky number also came topped off by a playing card in a classic move showcasing Tattu's flair.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Tattu Manchester is well-worth saving up a bit of dollar for, whether you've got an occasion coming up of just fancy treating someone special. From flavours to presentation, these tasty treats don't miss a single mark and prove the restaurant is so much more than just its (albeit incredible) looks. All dishes hit the spot and the cocktails went down easily, so this one's a winner if you ask me.
💰 The damage: £164 for six small plates and six cocktails.
📍 The location: 3 Hardman Square, Gartside St, Manchester M3 3EB.
👌 Perfect for: Date night-worthy dinner or drinks.
⭐ Need to know: The wine list here is extensive too.