I went for my second meetup with Manchester High Life, a group that visits the smarter-end bars and restaurants in Manchester. This time we dropped into the new, incredibly opulent body-art-themed Chinese restaurant Tattu. See their website for impressive visuals and their Twitter for the latest info.
The Gartside St venue opened last month, and we dropped in on a reasonably-busy Thursday night. The Spinningfields venue's nautical-themed entrance welcomes you into the ground floor bar area, providing long tables for groups and great service, accompanied by light chillout vibes. I started with a non-alcoholic Virgin and Glory cocktail before we were led upstairs into the plush dining area and seated at a circular table under an impressive whole dried blossom tree. The music, I realised, was provided by a DJ as opposed to an automated playlist, an interesting feature.
As we arrived as a party of around 10 we were split into 2 adjacent booths, which wasn't ideal but was workable. We started with a little sake, a Japanese fermented-rice-wine drink- not something I'd choose to drink again but it was interestingly-strong and didn't taste like anything I'd tried before.
We ordered a few extra side dishes alongside our starters. I accidentally ate something with a mushroom in it, but I soon washed it down with water and leveled the situation with some tasty prawn balls. I had the delicious baby chicken main with a side order of duck rice, and finished this off with Queen of Fruit, a picturesque but eye-wateringly sweet dessert with liquorice and mixed fruit, including mangosteen, a tropical fruit I'd admittedly never even heard of.
The group was much more varied in age range in comparison to the last meetup at 47 King Street West, with some attendees in early 30s, and others older.
After paying (my meal came to £36, which isn't bad for the quality of the food and venue and location, and without a discount of any kind) we were escorted back down to the bar area again (good marketing tekkers there) where I polished the evening off with a superbly unique hot chocolate with an added hint of orange flavouring. I needed mine replacing as a part of the drinks machine came off in the mug, but it was no biggie. Staff were polite, and service was immaculate.
Every corner of the restaurant contributes to the body-art theme, from the bar entrance with ship's wheel door handle (weren't sailors among the first westerners to get tattoos?) to tattoo photography (or incredibly realistic paintings, one of the two) and uniquely decorated busts.
A grand venue and a powerful contributor to the Spinningfields' burgeoning leisure scene.