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Modern Chinese restaurant Tattu opened in Birmingham in January this year.
Already operating in Manchester and Leeds, the prestigious brand delivers contemporary Chinese cuisine by fusing traditional flavours with modern cooking methods to create ‘a unique and exciting dining experience’.
Occupying a charming space within Birmingham city centre’s historic Grand Hotel development, the 150-cover split-level restaurant boasts award-winning interior design and astute attention to detail - think low lighting, dark walls, marble-look flooring, and a large, pink cherry blossom tree. The decor is simply stunning, making Tattu one of the most ‘Instagrammable’ restaurants I've ever visited. Fortunately, there’s no phone or internet signal in the venue, so bar the odd picture, phone use is kept to an absolute minimum - just as it should be.
Tattu’s signature dishes include beef fillet and caramel soy with shiitake and asparagus, and saffron black cod served with miso, Chinese sausage and razor clam. The a la carte menu is made up of multiple sections: bites, dim sum and small plates, ranging from £7 to £15; mains, ranging from £14 to £70; and a selection of set menus which cost from £40 to £75 per head.
To kick off proceedings, we ordered a mixed dim sum basket - featuring two Thai chicken, two Har Gau XO and two Szechuan pork - lobster and prawn toast with sweet & sour chilli sauce, Peking duck buns with hoisin, spring onion and cucumber, and, on recommendation from our waitress, sticky beef short rib with soy, chilli and crispy shallots.
Although there was absolutely nothing wrong with either the buns - which impressively featured Tattu branding - or the dim sum, if you want outstanding versions of these delectable items, head down to China Town, as you’ll find a vast selection of more flavoursome options at a fraction of the price. They were, however, quickly devoured and enjoyed by both of us.
The lobster and prawn toast was palatable - the addition of the lobster was very much in the spirit of the upmarket brand - and the short rib was truly delicious - a fantastic recommendation from our knowledgable waitress.
For our mains, we chose from a selection of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes, including: Thai-style crispy monkfish with lime, shallots and lemongrass; red pepper lamb chops with hot & sour pumpkin; and king oyster mushroom hotpot with baby spinach, silken tofu and yuzu truffle soy (a dish suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those who follow a gluten-free diet). We decided to push the boat out and order the sirloin of wagyu beef with Nikka-marinated foie gras, green bean and truffle sesame soy (at a staggering £70) and a whole lobster with wasabi gratin, lemon and lime (£55).
The latter was, without a shadow of a doubt, the nicest lobster dish I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. The creamy and subtly flavoured wasabi gratin and the citrus flavours perfectly complemented the sweet, succulent lobster chunks. It was truly heavenly.
The sirloin of wagyu beef wasn't the nicest cut of meat I’ve ever eaten in my life, which, at a price of £70, was what I would expect it to be, but there were certainly no complaints - it was delicious. The steak was seasoned nicely and cooked perfectly, resulting in a melt-in-the-mouth sensation, and the truffle sesame soy sauce was rich, thick and magically flavoursome. Widely regarded as a luxury food, the addition of the foie gras was spot on. I’m not a huge fan of whisky, so fortunately for me, the taste from the Nikka wasn’t in any way overpowering.
To accompany the main courses, we shared a duck egg and sausage fried rice at £5 and Singapore noodles with prawn, chicken and pork at £11. They certainly weren’t a necessity - we had definitely ordered more than enough food - but were very tasty all the same.
Our ‘banquet’ left us suitably full - too full, in fact, for dessert, which is a rarity. The dessert plates we saw on neighbouring tables looked like works of art - the most aesthetically pleasing I’ve seen in quite a while. Options included: Asian pear crumble; chocolate, Szechuan strawberry and banana caramel dessert wontons; and White Chocolate Igloos featuring blood orange, vanilla biscuit and coconut snow.
Throughout the evening, our waitress, Hannah, was polite, attentive and informative - an all-round gem. She absolutely made our night and is a real credit to the Tattu brand.
Tattu successfully boasts a contemporary take on a much-loved style of food. On the whole, you can find better Asian-inspired cuisine elsewhere, but the presentation is exquisite, the decor is divine and the dining experience is a thoroughly enjoyable one. It is pricey, so it’s maybe one to save for a special occasion. However, I do recommend a visit at least once - it’s certainly got the ‘wow’ factor.
**** Lauren Foster
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