“I would buy it with my own money.”

Is there a better affirmation of a meal’s quality than a 12-year-old’s willingness to part with her pocket money? No, there isn’t. But that’s what happened when I took my niece to Tattu in Manchester. 

With five locations across the UK, Tattu is doing something rather special. While its online blurb is, um, a bit over the top (‘a sensory journey from east to west visually inspired by body art and its travels from its origins in the east, across the oceans through trade, to find its place in today’s modern world’), the interior is pleasingly OTT. An expansive cherry tree stands at the heart of the restaurant – a symbol of good luck and life, apparently – while hanging from the ceiling are two oversized anchors, representing, I’m told, the place where Tattu was born. Add in some black luxe fittings, clever lighting and you’re all set for an opulent dining experience. Or, as my niece so aptly put it, “it’s so fancy”.

In an eatery where even the toilet hand dryers are gold, Tattu is all about the glamour. The dishes are beautifully presented (although the black cod masquerading as goldfish was fairly disturbing), there’s the requisite amount of dry ice, and the service is flawless. This is food as theatre and I’m here for the show.

From sweet & sour tempura so exquisitively cooked that it melts in the mouth to tenderstem broccoli liberally treated with black sesame and truffle, there’s not a damb squib to be seen. The seared tuna harbours a spice kick that gradually builds and is perfectly married with truffle aioli, caviar and citrus ponzu. And a delightfully scented jasmine tea is one of the best I’ve ever had. 

In a city which has redefined itself as a foodie destination, it seems that pricey food is still on the menu. While the Taste of Tattu lunch offering is good value, this ‘sensory journey’ isn’t cheap. But if a tweenager is prepared to hand over her cash, what more do you need to know?