Winter at Tattu

Nightlife up north gets overlooked more often than it should, but at House of Coco we don’t buy into the notion that “culture ends at the Watford gap”. Culture lives up in the north too, and it comes in a wide variety of hues, so we sent our girl Parker for a night at Tattu, the hue was opulent jewel tones and flecks of magnolia pink in every corner.

Tucked away in the Leeds Financial District, amongst some of Leeds’ favourite restaurants and hotels lies the sleek venue exterior which doesn’t feel the desire to shout about its presence. The most wonderful thing of all is that it doesn’t need to shout, they’ll astound you once you step through the doors.

After a warm welcome we sat in the bar to take in our surroundings, the dedicated bar area is compact, but fine details are worked throughout. It’s the little things that make Tattu memorable, and also the giant sakura tree which weaves its way through two floors… there’s no denying that part. The selection of wines will keep almost everyone happy, with some wonderful options by the glass as well as the bottle. A mid range reisling by the glass which isn’t unreasonably priced was a pleasant suprise. With two of their own specially crafted house beers there really is something for everyone — which is still sadly an all too rare thing. When we moved to the table things were never rushed, it was curious to see that no table was hurried along with their mains even during peak service. If the waiting staff — who did an amazing job by the way, thanks for looking after us Sam and Shanelle — ever felt any stress, they never let it slip.

We deliberated over the menu for a long time, the number of new options on the winter menu left us drooling and our souls almost left our bodies out of sheer joy. When we finally recomposed ourselves we started with the Wild Mushroom Spring Rolls, Chilli and Sesame Roasted Scallops, Beef and Fois Gras Gyoza and Wagyu Dumplings. For the non-meat eaters reading this with a degree of shock, there are other heady vegetarian options to sample, but that night, we were carnivores through and through. As for drinks through the night we sipped on Prosecco Ca’ del Console, but other pairings were suggested throughout the night which was music to our inquisitive ears.

Back to the starters we go. There was much time spent debating the many positives of each dish, the rich darkness of the Wagyu, the complexity that three types of mushroom have when dipped in luscious truffled sour cream. We couldn’t help but raise the question if the Fois Gras tasted as good as it looked, or whether the idea of it was better than the result. Though I went in expecting to be raving about the scallops, and oh my they were phenomenal, I must concede that after much deliberation the Mushroom Spring Rolls was the highlight of the starters (in my opinion at least). Trying to find a way to capture the flavours we experienced in a few words is always challenging. Indulgent, rich, satisfying and opulent are good words to start with.

The word ‘opulent’ is dominating my thoughts as I type this, because that was and is always the biggest experience with Tattu. When we finally stopped marvelling over the starters and moved onto mains we were again lost for words. Tattu does a variety of things very well, but the seafood shone through with its promise of delicate flavours with sharp contrasting accompaniments. So of course, we went for the Saffron Black Cod and the Giant King Prawn with steaming bowls of rice on the sides. The presentation is never up for debate at Tattu, it’s always impeccable, but would the flavours line up?

For the Giant Prawns, the answer is… almost. They were delectable, and more-ish, but there was just that little something missing. Just a touch too tough and the yuzu a little too understated. The Saffron Cod also came close to perfection but I won’t be rushing back to have it again on my next trip. The cod was delicate and light with razor clams adding a touch of saline to the mix and Chinese sausage adding a level of spice. My issue is that the cod was so light, so, so light, a blank canvas which couldn’t hold its own between bites when compared to the other elements of the dish. So, I won’t be rushing back to snap up these mains again on my next visit, but there will be another visit and instead, I’ll be sampling some of the other amazing new offerings.

We of course couldn’t leave without trying a dessert and a cocktail, both from the new winter menu and both surprising in their own way. A sweet White Chocolate Igloo and an Emperor’s Spice cocktail were excellent choices to round out the evening, though I wouldn’t suggest having both in one night! The Emperor’s Spice sits somewhere between being a wintery Old Fashioned and a new twist on a Boulevardier. Its maple sweetness threatens to cloy at you, but a bright flash of cinnamon brings things back into perspective. As for the Igloos they too were sweetness personified, with just the right amount of blood orange sorbet to make the experience enjoyable. They were decadent and wiped out those last traces of cravings, and were opulent at every moment. I still can’t get away from that word, even with a thesaurus in hand nothing else seems right.

Walking away at the end of the night was tough, both because of the amount of food we had sampled and because of the atmosphere we were immersed in. Tattu is an experience, and no trip is ever just remembered for the food. The attentive service, the passion that could be found in every person’s eyes, those are rarities too. It’s why Tattu doesn’t need to shout, it offers a wonderful dining experience and attracts the best levels of service. What more can you really ask for?

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