I was really lucky enough to be invited to the last of Tampopo’s vegan tasting menu nights a couple of months ago, so I took my friend Charlotte (who was doing Veganuary at the time) to come and try the 5-course menu with me at their restaurant in Albert Square in Manchester.
Just as the first point of this blog, I would like to acknowledge the fact that I’m not vegan but I do love to try vegan menus as I find it really interesting all the ingredients you can use to make food taste delicious without using any animal products. I know a lot of people might shy away from trying vegan products, but variety is the spice of life in my opinion and I enjoy trying new things and concepts.
I’ve worked with Tampopo a couple of times so I knew we were in for a treat when we got there. We were seated by a lovely waitress who let us know how the evening would pan out and that the dishes were being prepared by Masterchef finalist, Jackie Kearney, who was really into her Asian inspired cooking and is a vegan herself. We both ordered Tiger beers as our drink (when in Rome hey?) and had a lovely catch up before the food arrived.
Couse 1 – Sticky Tofu
I know tofu isn’t to everyone’s taste (even some veggies I know personally) but I’ve never had a bad experience with it and actually quite enjoy it even if it is quite spongy. The tofu was done with a teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds, with a pickled cucumber salad and spring onion.
Course 2 – Malaysian Spicy Rebus Tofu
The next course was served in a little bowl and comprised of tofu with a sticky peanut-y sauce, pak choi and noodles. This dish was a lot spicier than the first one but just as enjoyable and the noodles meant that it was a bit more filling.
Course 3 – Lotus Salad and Jackfruit Rendang
When we were reading the menu once we arrived, this was the course that I was most intrigued by, mainly because I’ve never heard of a jackfruit, but I am a fan of fruit in curry dishes, especially if they’re on the spicy side. The curry was my favourite dish of the whole night as it had so much flavour and came with a dairy-free flatbread to dip which was also delicious. The salad came with some fried tofu too which was equally as delicious.
Course 4 – Hot & Sour Stirfry Tofu and Sweet Potato Katsu Curry
A katsu curry is something I would usually order if I went to an Asian restaurant, so I was really looking forward to this dish as the sauce is one of my favourites. The sweet potato was cooked really well and was breadcrumbed which I’ve never had before and the stirfry tofu was also very tasty and done with sticky rice.
Course 5 – Banana Fritter and Mango Sorbet
I’m a real sweet tooth, and I was septical that a vegan dessert would be as nice as what I would usually get in a different restaurant, but this one really complimented the rest of the dishes perfectly. My only experience of a fritter was the ones you get in Chinses buffets, so I was a bit worried, but this one was really light and very enjoyable: The sorbet went really well as the accompaniment too.
After the food, Jackie came out to talk to us about how inspirations for the menu and get some feedback from us and it was really lovely to meet her and see how passionate she was about this menu.
If you’re vegan, or even if you’re not and just want to try something new, these dishes are now available on the Tampopo menu, and I would really recommend giving them a go.
Have you ever tried any vegan dishes at Tampopo? What did you think?