Tag Archives: skate wings

Top Dishes of 2016

Its that time of year when all the old repeats come on the telly. All that airtime to fill, the TV bosses know its easy to just throw a few extra editions of ‘Morecambe and Wise’ (or some Peter Kay!) on and its job done. Well it’s the same with any self respecting food blogger, this is the time we can scan the laptop and dust off a few food pics and get another post in before the end of the year without leaving the house!

2016 from a food perspective has been another decent one for me. Plenty of new places opening, particularly in my adopted city of Manchester. That said, quite a few shut down too. Proving it’s still a tough gig keeping us fed. Competition, food trends and urban redevelopment just some of the bullets an honest restauranteur needs to dodge to keep afloat.

The images and references below are just a brief round up of what was great this year for me. Ive probably missed out loads, but, in no particular order, here goes…..

The Granddaughter wanted a swanky Indian to celebrate her 21st. Tattu in Manchester worked a treat. Had my first (of now quite a few) skate wings. Poor image but it is dark in there!

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We went to Florida for our hols early on in the year. On Key West I had my best meal over there ,’Stoned’ Crab claws at The Stoned Crab! with seafood and a broth. Historic. A special mention to Key Lime Pie. I had one every night for 14 days!!

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Had a memorable night alone in Newcastle. Social media led me to The Broad Chare by the Tyne. Super little ‘gastropub,’ had a simple but utterly gratifying ‘bubble and squeak’ with homemade brown sauce.

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A definite highlight the magnificent ‘mariscada’ (festival of seafood) by Ramsbottom’s very own slice of Spain ‘Baratxuri’.

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As you may know, I like a sunday roast. I’ve had some belters this year. A toss up between The White Swan at Fence with their dexter beef and The Church Green’s version (with Aiden Byrne back on the tools the day we were there). Both absolutely sensational, but I should mention totally honourable efforts by The Star Inn the City, The Yew Tree and Burnt Truffle all mere specks of beef fat behind.

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TL White Swan, TR Star Inn The City, BL Church Green, Middle R The Yew Tree, BR Burnt Truffle

Loved the short rib and peas dish at Andrew Nutters latest The Bird at Birtle.

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Our one foray into Michelin star territory this year brought us to Alimentum in Cambridge. Possibly the single best dish of the year for me the cannon of venison, stunning.

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Special mention to my streetfood heroes of the year. Working in Spinningfields, Manchester, for the first half of the year, I often frequented the streetfood pop up sensation ‘The Kitchens’. Particular favourites the chicken kharti rolls from ‘Chaat Cart,’ the pork belly bao rolls from ‘Dim Sum Su’ and the stupendous steak wraps from ‘Well Hung’ (now Beastro).

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Pulled pork bun, Well Hung wrap, Kati Roll

Having now moved further east in the city, brunch with eggs by Federal Cafe, deserve a mention. I think I’ve been through the card now. Halloumi and shrooms a particular favourite.

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If pizza’s your thing, Ive had a couple of very decent ones now at The Sand Bar, Manchester.  Last but not least you have to love and use your local restaurant. Ours is Ariete in Newton le Willows. It’s a smart Italian, and I love normally to try all the specials, but one day this year I had the basic spaghetti bolognese. Ive never looked back. Had it about five times since! You cant beat the classics…..

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Tattu – Manchester

“Spectacular setting, spectacular food…..just bring a spectacular credit card!”

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The big tree, The glass front, the smart downstairs bar

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.

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The branding, funky shots

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.

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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.

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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.

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Duck and lobster dim sum, small dishes, squid and duck salad

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.

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Pork belly, ribs, steamed sides

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.

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The red roast chicken, skate wing with chilli jam
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pepper ribs, angus steak

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.

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the fortune cookie, the kandy cocktail

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.

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Stunning desserts, chocolate brownie, lemon posset, toffee pudding

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….

Tattu Restaurant and Bar
Gartside Street
3 Hardman Square
Spinningfields
Manchester
M3 3EB
Phone: 0161 819 2060
Email: hello@tattu.co.uk
Twitter: @tattumcr
Instagram: @tattumcr