There is something distinctly magical about Tattu. Sitting in state on the comfortable, richly cushioned sofas as the cherry blossom boughs above are reflected in the mirror-topped table, you can easily fancy yourself king or queen of some forgotten fairyland.
The cocktail menu carries on this theme, as I start off with a fiesty Cherry Blossom Negroni, complete with a mini cherry tree frozen into a giant ice cube, while my dining partner sips a a Skull Candy, poured from a glass skull steaming over with dry ice.
The menu is packed with creative twists on Asian cuisine, such as the Chilli and Sesame Roasted Scallops with Chinese sausage, crushed edamame and mint. Not knowing quite where to start we decide to follow one of the set menus. Highly tempted by the Emperor’s Choice, which features the most luxurious dishes including Japanese wagyu and an entire lobster with wasabi gratin for £99 per person, we instead settle on the slightly more modest Menu Three at £70 each.
While prices might initially seem high, the quality of ingredients, particularly the seafood, as well as the generosity of the portions, justifies the cost. Each menu comprises four ‘waves’, or courses. Our first wave begins with Shishito Peppers, a relative of Padrón with a similar twist – one in every ten is spicy. These are served with sweet soy and ginger and make a lovely nibble while we wait. Hamachi Kiwi Sashimi is next, and the fish is so fresh it could still be flapping. The clean white slices have a satisfyingly meaty bite, offset by the fruitiness of the kiwi and cubes of dragon fruit.
While we’re still enjoying these small plates the next wave overtakes us, and we’re treated to a big bowl of tempura Soft Shell Crab with a thick XO sauce made with shrimp and pancetta. The crispy, sweet crab is leant a pleasantly fishy earthiness by the sauce, and the entire dish contrasts with the next plate, a light and delicate Tuna Ceviche with crushed avocado and citrusy yuzu sauce. Completing this wave are enormous Peking Duck Bon Bons with plum sauce.
Once the smaller plates are cleared it’s on to wave three, the large plates, and by this stage we’re already feeling full. However, Ginger Miso Black Cod, flaking into flawlessly perfect bites, and my personal favourite, Caramel Soy Beef Fillet with shitake and the most delicious sauce, are both tender temptations to carry on eating. XO appears again, this time in the form of fried rice, and Tenderstem Broccoli languishing in a rich black sesame and truffle sauce completes this wave.
After my initial foray into the cocktail menu, I’ve been sticking to mocktails, and Tattu has made remarkable efforts to keep this section of the drinks menu interesting. I particularly enjoy Red Lotus, a confection of strawberry, pomegranate and elderflower.
After a short break, we’re served our desserts, and they’re spectacular. The Brownie Pagoda is a meal in itself – three chunky, chocolately brownies topped off with mascarpone ice cream and a chocolate roof. Meanwhile the Cherry Blossom is candyfloss constructed into a tree, with chocolate trunk, chocolate crumb soil and hidden cherry mousse. Much like mocktails, it’s rare for restaurants to pay much attention to their dessert menu, but here they’re yet another star of the show.
Tattu is a stunning venue with brilliant food, and my dining partner even commented that it’s quite possibly one of her favourite meals ever. Even if your budget’s tight, it’s well worth saving up for.
18 W Register St, Edinburgh EH2 2AA, tattu.co.uk