THERE are Chinese restaurants, good Chinese restaurants and then there is Tattu.
Haven’t heard of it? It’s in Minerva House, East Parade, fast becoming the trendiest place to be seen.
It used to be a bank but, thanks to some wondrous interior design, it is now an elaborate restaurant. It’s not cheap: £94.93 for a two-course dinner for two including two drinks each and some pre-dining nibbles.
I imagine at those prices you would save Tattu for a special occasion. A hundred pound meal for two should never be an everyday occurrence. We were satisfied with the food and the service: both spot on.
From the waiter who took us to our table (tattooed to the hilt including some on his face) to the waitress, Jodie, who was chatty and helpful without being intrusive. We couldn’t fault them.
I do take issue though with the 10 per cent discretionary service charge, which was automatically added to the bill.
Discretionary? I’m sure if I’d asked it would have been removed but I would rather have left a £10 tip of my own volition. Who wants to ruin the ambience by making a fuss? Restaurant management take note, this takes some of the gloss of what was an otherwise very impressive meal.
But on to the meal. I say meal, it was more of a theatrical experience. Not only was the front-of-house man entertaining, the décor was interesting – stylishly black with what appeared to be real blossom trees hanging over the diners. They must have been fake, surely, but they looked genuine.
The customers were bang on trend too as though they perhaps had ‘a fashionable dudes only’ policy but we are too much past 50 to ever be mistaken for hip, and we got in without any trouble. Anyway, we were thrilled already, even without looking at the menu. We arrived at about 3.30pm on a Saturday between the lunchtime and teatime rushes, which was good timing but the place was still busy. Our table for two was big enough, but only just.
We wondered about dining from the fixed menu but in the end decided to dine a la carte.
We were offered three plates of nibbles – sweet and sour lotus crisps (£2.50), spiced edamame beans (£3.50) and pickled cucumber (£2.50). Very interesting. I never knew I had a thing about lotus crisps but I do now.
For starters, we chose familiar-sounding dishes. I had beef satay (£8) and my wife chose crispy duck roll (also £8). They were fabulous, especially the duck, which was crisp, plentiful and tasty. It came with a yuzu plum sauce. Yuzu is a citrus fruit. The satay was impressive, too, with peanut, lime and soy. Simple dishes but very well presented.
And service was quick, too. In fact, a little too quick if anything. We didn’t feel rushed but the food was brought to in double-quick time.
For main courses, we were more adventurous.
I went for Cantonese chicken (£15) and my partner pork ribeye (£14), which were at the cheaper end of the menu.
The Cantonese chicken came with cashew sesame and chilli bean and was amazingly good with delicately fragrant garnish. My partner’s teriyaki pork ribeye was equally delicious. It was Yorkshire pork and it came with pickled vegetables and apple teriyaki.
Washed down with two 250ml glasses of pinot grigio (decent wine but £7.60 a time?
Expensive. Ditto the Japanese Asahi lager (£4.80 a pint). Now, if our £96 bill was steep just think how much it would have been had we splashed out.
Caramel soy beef fillet sounded good at £26, as did the honey-roasted Chilean sea bass at £25.50. But don’t consider the chef’s cut of wagyu beef (£70) or the salt and pepper lobster (£50) unless you’re feeling exceptionally flush.
The lunch menu sounds good value, though. You can have two dishes for £13, three for £18 or four for £22.
There is also a ‘taste of Tattu’ offer at certain times costing £19.50 for two courses and three for £24.50.
The drinks menu is impressive, here. There is an interesting list of cocktails at around £9 and £10 a time including some of their own invention, plus sharing cocktails and a decent selection of wine (from £22 a bottle to £335) but you can buy by the glass too. Draught lager is limited to two choices – Tattu at £4.50 and Asahi at £4.80 and a small selection of bottled beers and ciders.
Tattu is well placed, between the railway station and The Headrow, with some equally high-ranking restaurants nearby. It seemed popular with young moneyed sorts. I reckon we were the oldest in the establishment by a decade. Tattu is good but expensive. There are some premier league dining establishments in Leeds where £100-for-two dining is almost commonplace so it seems Tattu may well hold its own. It certainly has the ambience and staff. If only they could trust customers to make their own mind up on tipping.
FACTFILE - Tattu, East Parade, Leeds
Address: Tattu, Minerva House, 29 East Parade, Leeds
Opening hours: Mon-Weds noon-midnight, Thurs noon-1am, Fri-Sun noon-midnight
Telephone: 0113 245 1080