Tampopo Manchester Albert Square
Tampopo Albert Square is the original venue in this Manchester-born chain from restaurateur David Fox. It was here that they devised and tweaked their winning formula of fast, fresh and affordable East Asian food served in an informal, canteen-style environment, before expanding to the Corn Exchange, the Trafford Centre, and beyond.
The open kitchen lets you see the chefs chopping, steaming and sizzling the ingredients as you wait. They’re no slouches either, making Tampopo a great lunch spot to have a decent sit down fresh lunch sorted easily within an hour. Seating is at long, shared wooden tables, and although this is quite a small restaurant, it’s well spaced and doesn’t feel cramped.
The menu features classic dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan. Go for starters such as their meaty yet sweet coconut prawns, or the umami hit of their gyoza dumplings. For mains, the options divide into noodles, wok dishes, curries and salads.
You can eat healthily here without missing out on the big flavours. Try the Thai salad, for instance, which comes with cucumber, cherry tomato, fine beans, fresh mint, peanuts, red onion, mizuna, black radish and your choice of chicken, rump steak or tofu, with a chilli and lime dressing.
There are many recommended dishes here but must-tries include their laksa soup, and their beef rendang. The freshness and quality of ingredients sets Tampopo apart from similar chains.
For drinks, order an Asahi beer or one of their Asian-inspired cocktails. Desserts tend to be fairly simple (ice cream or sorbet or churros, for example). Ingredients such as mango and cinnamon keep them in-line with the East Asian theme. End on a Vietnamese coffee made with sweetened condensed milk.
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