If my weekends had become about hopscotching around Asian restaurants, I feel certain I had mastered the game.
Except after the last meal out, I had specific instructions not to book another Asian, Asian fusion, Asian fused with Peruvian, Pan Asian themed, chopstick food wrestling restaurant.
So maybe I didn't, maybe I stepped on a line.
So instead, I go for another game, Jacks. I'm shooting for contemporary Chinese and Tattu London on the sixth floor and Penthouse level of the Now Building just off Denmark Street in Soho. At its street entrance, a man in a long flapping skirt (I surmise they were going for the hanfu then changed their minds) checks I'm not simply a walk-in off the streets. Then, more men in flapping skirts verify the said reservations at the building's entrance. And once out of the elevator at the penthouse level, reception stamps approval.
With as many checks in place as you would going through Heathrow, we can finally sit.
And unlike the last restaurant, I forfeit the view out the framed glass walls for that of Tattu's interiors. I like it. There's less of the chinoiserie, not a pink silk cherry blossom in sight, but I suppose the venue calls not for it. If anything, it struck me a little Hakkasan-Esque, where light has been invited in. Outside, the elevated view concentrates on the crossroads of London's Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street.
I've found what would be my best seat in the house, though I'm not seated at it. I'd need a party of at least five but no more than eight to be seated there. It's in the corner of the building nearest the glass walls, and from my position, the round table appears cantilevered. Arranged with a mirroring circular rug under your foot.
Tattu is a surprise new restaurant in London. Not so a surprise in Manchester and Birmingham, where they've been for the last four and two years.
I know because I've been on their website and had my appetite sated, memory stamped.
Memory stamped, I'm perusing their In-House drinks menu for the 'Secrets of a Geisha', but it fails to make London's cocktail list. I'm a tad disappointed and opt for the 'Cherry Blossom Negroni' and the other half a 'Hidden Dragon'.
While pretty to look at, this Roku Gin, Campari, and inedible cherry blossom concoction lost my cheer. Without saying, I let the other half try to ensure it wasn't the first disappointment leaking onto the other. He, too, shares not in its liquid taste on the lips. I am 6th-floor level disappointed.
His Hidden Dragon (their twist on an espresso martini), is an entire theatrical performance. A swinging thurible on a Sunday morning is no competition. Not one to be ordered by the shy and retreating either as it draws all eyes to your table. Matter of fact, if you charged everyone looking a £1, you'd recover the cost of the drink. The cocktail does live up to the fanfare with its coconut flavours making a star appeal. I find it faultless.
What We Ate
The kitchen is prepped for a full house of early evening diners, and the dishes we fancy a nibble on are rustled out the kitchen.
Sticky Beef Short Ribs, flavoursome and gram-worthy, I'd order this again.
Bite sized portions of lightly laced Szechuan Red Belly Pork Skewers. A comforting dish where the sauce is the star.
Sweet Tamarind Tofu Balls, (tofu addicts may appreciate this) with fluffy, nutty Steamed Jasmine Rice.
It's not the authenticity of Chinese cuisine that brings me here. For that, I'd venture over to China Town, next door. I'm here for the flavours and when a mouthful of a dish of Wok Fried Angry Bird said to be loaded with roasted chilli peppers fails to deliver the kickboxing or, better, some kung-fu fighting, I have another fork full to be sure. No change. I let Mr PWT try just in case I'd killed off my taste buds from the night before. He, too, sits comfortably. We could only surmise that the chef forgot to stir fry this one in anger but it is a hearty dish.
Tattu London is huge, not including a separate bar area and open outdoor rooftop terrace. Inside, however, the clever break up of the space into four dining areas, disguises this.
It is six in the evening; the DJ has put her back into the music. The decibels increase, and you sense the restaurant is getting ready for a more lively, trendy, social media sassy, see-and-be-seen crowd.
I instead got ready for the Bubble Tea and Cotton Cheesecake dessert, which I didn't order.
And if I were to recommend one other, I recommend this. Its mouthful after mouthful of bubble-bursting fruity taste sensations.
Being the new restaurant in town there are no cracks in the veneer. And with the hum picking up after six, I'd come back with a group of friends out for a celebration at the round table on the seemingly cantilevered corner of the restaurant. The food, average, doesnt yet speak for itself but I can see Tattu London gaining a following.
Why go: the new place to be, relaxed, celebrations with friends, trendy, live music
Location: The Now Building Rooftop, Outernet, Denmark Street, London, WC2H 0LA