Harley Young visits Fenix’ big sister to see how the Spinningfields restaurant is holding up

Two weeks prior to our visit, as I sat at my computer struggling to reserve a table for any later than 5pm on a Saturday, I realised Tattu is still keeping up with its younger Mediterranean sister Fenix when it comes to being one of the city’s hotspots for date night dinners and evening drinks alike. 

The evening eventually rolled around and we headed to the restaurant, eagerly anticipating what awaited us behind the gold, helm-shaped door handles of Tattu’s entrance. We were welcomed warmly by a pair of reception staff who offered to take our coats and kindly stored my suitcase (a family visit to Sheffield) safely in the cloakroom before handing me a ticket and guiding us through to the bar area. 

Fenix may be the new kid on the block, but Tattu is still a fun and playful restaurant for dates and special occasions

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Tattu Manchester's upstairs dining area Image: Tattu Manchester

The venue, adorned with sailor-themed decor like skulls, giant anchors and ropes weaving their way around the walls and ceilings, plays on the style of traditional tattooing. Lighting is kept to a minimum, creating a moody, dark affair with just a small tabletop light to illuminate your dinner and drink of choice. I can certainly see why people take advantage of the photo opportunities this place provides. 

Dave and I started our evening with a cocktail each; a non-alcoholic ‘Skullduggery’ for me, served in an aptly fitting skull-shaped glass with a sprinkle of dry ice for good measure (after all, Tattu is all about the theatre) and an ‘Eastern Dragon’ for him made with 135 East Gin, raspberry and Cointreau.

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The Skullduggery non-alcoholic cocktail Image: Confidentials

The Skullduggery was tart, juicy and certainly looked the part. Being a raging goth, the skull glass fitted my aesthetic down to a T, too. I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Plus, I didn’t feel left out despite my drink not having any booze in which is always a nice bonus - I hate looking like the kid at the adults table when there’s no alcohol free options available and I’m left drinking a glass of coke with a straw…you might as well bring me a Fruit Shoot at that point. 

Dave’s Eastern Dragon was beautifully presented with some dried florals atop for added fragrance and flair and the smoke-filled bell jar it was served with made for a rather impressive reveal. 

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The Eastern Dragon before the reveal Image: Confidentials
2024 02 22 Tattu Daves Cocktail 2
The Eastern Dragon after the reveal Image: Confidentials

We decided on the ‘Taste of Tattu’ three-wave menu, priced at £73.50 per person, to get a good scope of what’s on offer at this contemporary Chinese restaurant. 

The first wave saw seven spiced seared tuna, served with small dabs of truffle aioli, caviar and citrus ponzu, presented on a turquoise rectangular side plate. The seven spice crumb added a nice texture to the perimeter of each carefully sliced piece of tuna and the truffle aioli elevated the flavour without overpowering it. We really enjoyed this dish and could have eaten a few portions of it. 

Aromatic crispy duck pancakes with Szechuan sauce, cucumber, spring onion and crispy shallots were served alongside it in a round bamboo steamer. Well presented, this starter was a somewhat fancier take on the takeaway classic and served as a nice interactive sharer between the two of us. As the name would suggest, the duck was suitably crispy and added a nice crunch to the pancake when wrapped up with all the trimmings.

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Seven spiced seared tuna and crispy duck pancakes Image: Confidentials

For our second wave, we received four dishes to share. The first being satay ribeye beef, served with papaya som tum and cashews. The presentation was a little confusing, the ribeye wrapped in a leaf and topped with some greens making it look more like something you’d found on a forest floor instead of painstakingly prepared in the kitchen. 

Despite the puzzling presentation, the steak was tasty and well cooked (medium, like we’d requested). The chunky satay sauce drizzled over the top and served on the side added enough texture to keep the dish interesting and when paired with the side of jasmine steamed rice it was a filling portion between the two of us. 

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Satay ribeye beef Image: Confidentials
2024 02 22 Tattu Rice
Jasmine rice Image: Confidentials

I really wanted to like the next dish; sea bass tom yum with lemongrass, kaffir lime and pak choi. But it was just a bit too watery and didn’t pack in much flavour. The skin of the sea bass was nicely crisped but, other than that, we could have done without it. 

The bean sprout noodles served alongside were well-seasoned, if not a little too oily. They’re more or less exactly the same as the ones you’d get from your local takeaway at a fraction of the price, though. So, unless you’re ordering them to pad out your main, I’d probably go for something more exciting on the menu if I were you.

2024 02 22 Tattu Sea Bass
Sea bass tom yum Image: Confidentials
2024 02 22 Tattu Noodles
Bean sprout noodles Image: Confidentials

Wave three - my favourite wave, dessert - arrived along with even more theatrics than the cocktails. A smoking spherical stone bowl which, when the lid was removed, revealed a white chocolate ‘dragon egg’ sat on a toffee nest surrounded by further shards of chocolate and filled with coconut curls, passion fruit and mango. A perfect combination for me, a self-confessed chocoholic, and Dave, a fruity dessert favourer. 

The sharpness of the passion fruit helped cut through the chocolate, stopping the dessert from becoming too sickly while the egg, filled with a dollop of ice cream, added a touch of magic to the course.

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White chocolate dragon egg Image: Confidentials

On the other end of the spectrum was the Asian pear sticky toffee pudding with cinnamon, vanilla and almond - a decadent twist on the classic British dessert sailing in a pool of toffee sauce with a cinnamon stick flag poking out the top. Very moist and full of flavour, but definitely one for sharing as it can become a little too rich if tackling on your own.

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Asian pear sticky toffee pudding Image: Confidentials

Fenix may be the new kid on the block, but Tattu is still a fun and playful restaurant for dates and special occasions. If you’re looking for a pretty venue to impress with, you won’t go wrong here. 

As for the food, it’s enjoyable but feels like it's missing something, all things considered. Especially with the price point of many of the dishes and set menus. Thankfully, it’s helped along the way with well-themed cocktails and impressive-looking desserts, ideal for snapping and sharing with pals on the ‘gram. 

Would I splurge another £230 on the meal we had? Probably not. But would I sip away an evening with a handful of curious, complex cocktails and well-orchestrated small plates? In a heartbeat.  

Tattu, 3 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB, UK

Follow Harley Young on X @Harley__Young

Tattu is on Confidential Guides

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The scores

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, and ALWAYS paid for by Confidentials.com and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.

If you want to see the receipt as proof this magazine paid for the meal then a copy will be available upon request. Or maybe ask the restaurant.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their type. What we mean by this is a restaurant which aspires to be fine dining is measured against other fine dining restaurants, a mid-range restaurant against other mid-range restaurants, a pizzeria against other pizzerias, a teashop against other teashops, a KFC against the contents of your bin. You get the message.

Given the above, this is how we score: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: sigh and shake your head, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: nothing's that good is it?

  • Food 7/10

    Seared tuna 8, crispy duck 7.5, satay ribeye 6.5, sea bass 5, beansprout noodles 6, jasmine rice 5, sticky toffee pudding 8, chocolate dragon egg 7.5

  • Ambience 4/5

  • Service 4/5