“Spectacular setting, spectacular food…..just bring a spectacular credit card!”
The Flame set me a task. “Go forth and find me a posh Chinese”. Nancy our studious young granddaughter is about to hit 21, Chinese is her favourite. I set to with vim, vigour and trepidation. However, the memory banks had locked in an impressive image of a ‘big tree’ set in a rather grand dining suite. A lunchtime ‘reccy’ to Tattu confirmed that this indeed is a posh Chinese with a big tree in it. Unlike many of Manchester’s ‘approved’ chinese restaurants it is set in the business district of ‘Spinningfileds’ and not Chinatown.
I will admit to not being a particular connoisseur of Chinese cuisine. Previous experience has me down as a ‘cheapest banquet’ type with the proviso that it includes duck pancakes!
We arrived on the prescribed date at 6.30pm prompt. The rain lashed and the wind blowed. You’d be hard pushed to find the place. It is hidden beneath a gleaming facade of architectural glass. A bizarre, galley wheel door handle guides you in. We were efficiently disrobed of our outerwear and led up a lengthy flight of steps, having left a tasteful bar area downstairs. I had thoughtfully arranged for a booth to seat our party of four. The two youngsters and indeed The Flame were suitably impressed. The Cooktwit’s brownie points were in the ascendancy from the word go.
It is a stunning dining area. Incredibly lit in a deep purple hue. The aforementioned fauna dominates the room. It acts as the focal point whilst several shell like booths radiate from its base. Our booth was to one side giving us a constant view to the centre. The gentle throb of electro dance tunes provided the background canvas.
Our table was served by our own waitress. After water was served we were then led through the highly colourful menu. It’s a surprisingly simple tome. a page of dim sum, small dishes, mains, deserts. sides and a set menu. We decided to have a small selection of dim sum to start, a small plate each, a main and a dessert. It all worked rather well.
Each course was beautifully presented. First up the lobster and prawn toast and the duck rolls. We all raptured. An array of dips accompanied.
Next our small dishes. Chilli salt baby squid, crispy pork belly, duck and watermelon salad and satay ribs. Our young relatives were already suggesting this was the best place they had ever been. My pork belly was easily as good as any Ive had. I could cut through each glorious tower with a chopstick such was the softness of the flesh. The Flame cooed and marvelled at her salad.
Mains up next. The Flame had Red roast baby chicken. It came in an earthenware pot with ‘shrooms’ and asparagus, but sadly we considered this the most disappointing dish of the night. The young celebrant had black pepper and honey ribs, she reckoned these were the best ribs ever. They looked the part, decent portion too. Her sis Jess took on the black angus fillet, which also looked nice and pink.
Though I say so myself I reckon I won with my choice, skate wing with chilli jam. Not too familiar with skate but clearly this chap had built up some strength before succumbing to my plate. I was scraping huge hunks of soft white meat from its bones for hours. Absolutely devine, the jam adding a much needed tang.
Having penned a celebratory paragraph earlier on in the week, a firework amidst a plate of colourful sorbets, heralded the grand reveal of a personalised fortune cookie. Nancy was suitably thrilled. We all agreed a nice touch.
We then settled on desserts. These were truly spectacular. The Harvest Moon Festival (a take on toffee pudding with coriander and a whole host of stunning flavours), the Chocolate Satay (the satay in the shape of a pink macaroon) and Buddhas Hand (a stunning take on lemon posset). All wonderfully presented. It wasn’t all form over function though. They tasted incredible.
By now the dining room and bar were at full tilt. The beautiful people had arrived in their droves. After a wonderful couple of hours it was time to settle up. £240 for four, with wine, the odd cocktail and a 10% service. A bit weighty, but it was a special occasion after all. To be fair it had met the brief with aplomb. The service was bright, alert, friendly and efficient. In short all you would want it to be. Our young guests had loved it and even now can’t stop talking about it. It must have done something right. The Cooktwit’s brownie points have never moved on so quick. It’s a thumbs up from me….