Words & Photos: Yours truly
If you didn’t know, World Vegan Month is an annual designation observed in November – and the first of November is actually World Vegan Day!
To celebrate the movement, Tampopo in Manchester’s Corn Exchange invited me to go and sample their vegan/vegetarian menu… which I should point out is not new. I’d previously tried a few dishes on it before at their Trafford Centre restaurant, and was super impressed, so I didn’t hesitate to take up their offer, and here’s my review.
Disclaimer: Even though the meal was on the house, my review is completely unbiased – also, please note that I’m only going to judge the meal on the vegan/veggie dishes that I had and that my review doesn’t cover the meat dishes you may see in the photos.
The starter: 8.5/10
Even though my plus one isn’t vegan/veggie, we decided to go for the vegan sharing platter so we could both try a number of little things… and the platter consists of mushroom lettuce wraps, sticky tofu, corn fritters, jackfruit rendang and roti slices, and smacked cucumber salad.
If I had to rank each element on the platter, it would go like this:
- Mushroom lettuce wraps
- Sticky tofu
- Smacked cucumber salad
- Corn fritters / roti slices that accompany the rendang curry
- Jackfruit rendang
In my very honest opinion, substituting meat with jackfruit may be a novel idea but it always lets me down, because you simply cannot get the same texture and taste from unripe jackfruit that you get from real meat. That’s why I’ve deducted 1.5 point from the score, but because everything else on the platter is delicious (especially the mushroom wraps, which is packed full of flavoured – and served cold, so very refreshing), I can’t say I’m disappointed.
The main: 7/10
Singapore vermicelli is one of those things that I’ve been eating since I was little, going all the way back when I was growing up in Malaysia. So whenever I see it on the menu, I almost have to fight my urge to order it – this time, I caved in… obviously.
Sadly, Tampopo’s take on this dish didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It was all a little bland if I must be honest. In fact, I had to ask the waiter for more soy sauce (and he also brought me a vegan fish sauce, which was very nice of him!) so I could adjust the flavour to my liking. The portion was very generous though, so if you’re looking for good value then this is definitely worth considering, but with everything taken into account, I’ve given it a 7 our of 10.
The desserts: 9/10
The most important part of any meal: the desserts. We got the banana fritters and the roti pancake, the latter is an absolute must when you visit a Tampopo. I’ve had it before, and I couldn’t resist getting it again because it’s just too good.
Ok, this may seem like cheating to some people though because we ordered from the regular dessert menu instead of the vegan menu… but both of these dishes could easily be adapted for your vegan needs (by simply taking out the ice-cream and the condensed milk that’s drizzled on top of the roti pancake).
The roti pancake is another thing that I’m very familiar with having grown up in Malaysia, where we have an Indian-influenced flatbread dish called roti canai, which is basically the same thing. It’s typically served with curry for breakfast in Malaysia, but because I have a sweet tooth, I’d always eat it dipped in granulated sugar instead… and someone at Tampopo obviously had the same idea as me, because that’s exactly how it’s served here + a drizzle of condensed milk and a dollop of cinnamon ice-cream.
However, I’m slightly less impressed by the banana fritter. Call me basic but I prefer my banana fritters coated in ordinary batter – I’m not really a huge fan of the nut coating so for that reason, the desserts are just one point shy of full marks.
Finally, I’d just like to point out how attentive the staff were. They were super lovely and whatever request we had, they tried their absolute best to go the extra mile so it’s a solid 10/10 for the service! Thanks so much to the team of Tampopo for having us, and we will definitely be back!!
So tell me: What’s your go-to dish at an oriental restaurant? Have you ever been to a Tampopo? Let me know in the comments below! Until the next post, bye!!
Be sure to click here if you’d like to check out Tampopo’s menus or find one of their restaurants near you.