Tampopo Visit: July 2016
Backpack ready, passport in hand, grab your boarding pass and come join me for a tour of East Asia, but all under one roof. Thankfully David Fox both owner and founder of Tampopo has already done the hard work for you. Tampopo at Manchester’s Corn Exchange offers diners an exciting extraordinary eastern exploration to sample creative culinary cuisines from across Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
The restaurant featured authentic surroundings that included traditional lanterns with subdue lighting alongside the street scene theme with more bold and vibrant karaoke club/bar signage. Another cool feature was surprisingly uncovered when I paid a trip to the ladies room. A speaker system sounded East Asia airport boarding calls. This really got me in the mood for travelling and tasting the delights of Tampopos delicious authentic menu.
‘Tampopo’ represents both the name and the ethos of the brand – “Perfection”. ‘Tampopo’ is a Japanese girl’s name meaning Dandelion and is also the title of a Japanese film. The film is an account of a women’s quest to search for the perfect bowl of noodles. I stepped into Tampopos shoes and there began my very own quest to search for a perfect and authentic taste of Asia.
We began our Asian Adventure by sampling a selection of scrumptious small plates. These are ideal to share with a group of friends or as an individual starter. We loved the yummy thai Prawn Crackers served with a scrumptious sweet chilli sauce. The Mini Singaporean Laksa Soup was a delicious spicy creamy coconut broth with either chicken or prawn. My personal favourite was the Japanese Pork Dumplings served with a soya dip. The gyoza are hand made from fresh daily by their creative and talented in house culinary team.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls were packed with deep fried vegetables, rice vermicelli and Asian herbs and served with a hoisin and peanut dip. The gem garnish usually something I would just see as a pretty serving suggestion did have a useful part to play. Sarah, knowledgably advised us that the gem lettuce is used to gather up the spring roll then you drizzle the sauce on to create a mouth-watering bite of Vietnamese yumminess. Japanese Style Sticky Wings served with a sweet soy and chilli glaze are the creation of Chef Darrell. Hush…hush…shush…Darrell keeps the recipe a closely guarded secret and I can see why! I am already planning a return visit just to enjoy these sticky delights once again. Rendang Roti Bites were topped with a Malaysian slow cooked beef stew. These mini melting mouth-watering bites were a taste of heaven.
Continuing our tour of East Asia we moved onto tasting tantalizing street food and fragrant curries. Chicken Pad Thai one of the classics comprised of Sour-sweet rice noodles with choi sum, egg, beansprouts, dried shrimp, roasted peanuts and lime. The Japanese Katsu Curry dish was Chicken breast deep-fried in a panko breadcrumb with a mild tasty curry sauce and sticky rice. Served with a sesame and ginger salad. The Classic Malaysian Beef Rendang is cooked for 6 hours in coconut, chilli, shallots, galangal and lemongrass. Served with a roti, cucumber and pineapple salad. All a success and plates were well and truly cleared!
Malaysian Pancake was a beautiful Buttery flaky roti drizzled with creamy condensed milk and a sprinkle of sweet cinnamon sugar. Served with delicious cinnamon ice cream. Coconut Chocolate Fondant cake was an instant winner. The cake had an oozing liquid chocolate centre and a grated coconut heart served with the most amazing tasting black sesame ice cream. Vietnamese Coffee was a delightful process to watch brewing and served in the traditional style with condensed milk as found in the cafes of Hanoi and Saigon.
All the food offerings were authentic, fresh, healthy, plentiful and packed with flavour. The Menu is flexible offering both vegetarian and vegan friendly options that are clearly marked on the menu. However, Tampopo also cater well for thirst. They do their own signature cocktails and they do them well! Ideal for after work drinks, a celebration with family or friends or simply an evening out with the ladies or the guys.
We started the party by heading over to their cute bar area that had authentic Buddha statues, candles and a friendly atmosphere. The lovely Lemongrass Mule was a mix of Vodka, Ginger beer, infused with fresh Lemongrass & Lime. In addition, we sampled the tasty Twinkle, a mix of Vodka, prosecco and excellent elderflower. Both cocktails were not heavy, artificial or over sweetened, but both had a light and refreshing taste.
Tampopo offer something for all whether that be a cocktail a beer or a non-alcoholic option. The Singapore Sling was a success and had a mix of Gin, Cherry liqueur, Cointreau, Grenadine & Pineapple juice. My plus one really enjoyed the Asahi Japanese bottled beer and really got him in the travelling mood. The Virgin Popsicle was a fabulous non-alcoholic option that was a mix of fresh Orange Juice, Passionfruit Puree and Pineapple Juice with a dash of Grenadine. Also, this can be had with a dash of rum, if you fancy engaging in alcoholic beverages.
We navigated the bustling street markets of Bangkok, the hawker stalls of Singapore and the noodle vendors of Tokyo, with relative ease thanks to the Manager Sarah and our fabulous servers Alice and Christos. I fell in love with both the food and the drinks at Tampopo and this is definitely more than a holiday romance.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Tampopo, Corn Exchange, Manchester M4 3TR.
0161 839 6484