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Tampopo’s Thai Menu review

Jonathan Schofield does something truly remarkable in the Triangle

Written by . Published on January 6th 2011.

Tampopo’s Thai Menu review

"Tampopo," someone says in the Confidential office.

“Doo der der do,” we all reply to the rhythm of the bass in MC Hammer’s ‘Can’t touch this’.

Its progressive refinement in the kitchen over the more subtle Eastern dishes, away from the hearty ramens, has been a pleasure to watch. This Thai menu captures much of the subtlety and elegance of that most gentle of cuisines and wraps it an attractive and cleverly designed environment.

The association between song and restaurant is all down to those stressed first syllables, and then the trailing away of the less strong final pair (click here).

This explanation doesn’t stop guests staring if they happen to be visiting Confidential when someone mentions Tampopo.

Thus, I couldn’t help myself recently. I was having a meeting at Tampopo in the Triangle, when a person on the neighbouring table asked her friend, “Is this your first time in Tampopo?”

It was like a red rag to a bull. Like a shot I jumped on the table and did that energetic MC Hammer dance routine shown in the Youtube clip above. My companion joined in and suddenly everyone in the restaurant was at it, ‘Tampopo, doo der der do’.

Honestly. Well, something like that. In my head.

After the jigging we ate the Thailand Country Menu; two courses and a glass of fresh lime soda or jasmine tea at £11.95 each.

I would dance again for the Tod Man Khao Pod, which despite being composed of humble corn fritters, was an outstanding dish. The fritters come with a chilli and peanut dip and they have crunch, depth, moisture and lovely little nuances of flavour brought out by the sauce.

I’d remain a wall-flower for the coconut prawns which while being substantial were too dry and flaky - I almost choked - for my liking despite a decent sweet chilli dip. Of course thinking about it we should have gone for more variety in the starters with one of the two salad choices.Instead, chatting away, I inadvertently ordered a salad for the main, the Yam Wun Sen, a spicy prawn and glass noodle affair.

I usually have a rule with salads that they are well and good in summer, in the afternoon, in the garden, with the bees buzzing and the grandparents dozing, but otherwise they are a tainted dish to proper eaters, a thing for uncertain foodies, shy of the fats and fluids which give life its rich flavour.

But here the delicacy of the dish won me over, especially the fizz that fresh coriander brings, the zingy lift of the lime and the sharp controlled heat of the chilli. It goes into my list of go-back-and-have-it-again Manchester dishes.

A Khao Sol of chicken breast and yellow noodles in a red curry sauce was with all its combinations of ginger, garlic, lime and onion another light, lifting, winner, packing a good punch of flavour. The sauce was delightful and needed to be spooned up at the end.

Get the utterly refreshing lime soda if you fancy a drink as well. Beautiful.

All in all this was a charming meal.

Tampopo, with or without the accompanying MC Hammer song in your head, is a mini-chain that’s tuned and tweaked itself constantly over the last decade. Its progressive refinement in the kitchen with the more subtle Eastern dishes, away from the hearty ramens, has been a pleasure to watch. This new Thai menu captures much of the subtlety and elegance of that most gentle of cuisines and wraps it an attractive and cleverly designed environment.

By the way, after the meal we went off to Affleck’s to see if we could get any of those special MC Hammer trousers. This resulted in some funny looks at the subsequent management meeting. They’re very comfortable folks. Roomy.

A singing man models the editor's new trousers

Breakdown:7.5/10 food
3.5/5 service
3/5 ambience
The Triangle
38 Exchange Square
M4 3TR
0161 839 6484

MANCHESTER CONFIDENTIAL PAYS FOR ALL ITS RATED REVIEWS EVEN THOSE FROM ITS ADVERTISERS: IF THERE'S A SCORE THE REVIEWS ARE WRITTEN AS IMPARTIAL JUDGEMENTS FROM THE WRITERS. Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Simone13024November 2nd 2010.

Tampopo is the best restaurant for toddlers in the city. They get a healthy fun meal and are trying stuff that my generation didn't get around to until we were at least in our teens. They should get more praise for this, and their staff at the Town Hall branch are excellent.

BusterBolloxNovember 2nd 2010.

Does the editor need those roomy trousers for his pair of unfeasibly large....two pound coins?

Leigh ScottNovember 2nd 2010.

I can't concentrate on the article for tune of 'you can't touch this' going around my head!

THEtruthNovember 2nd 2010.

Tampopo doo der der doo.It's the lyric MC Hammer would have wanted.

AVoNovember 2nd 2010.

Walrus in the Northern Quarter do great Thai/Japanese food. Their standout dishes are the black pepper ribs, pork loin salad with chilli and lime fish sauce dressing and the beef massaman curry. Mmmmmmm...

NortherngeezerNovember 2nd 2010.

Me and MC Geezer have done the thai deal a couple of times now, its a joy to watch her jump up on the table and do the dance singing "Cant Touch This".

ThaitaltruthNovember 2nd 2010.

I go for the Ramens which I love, but it's the MC Hammer table dancing which does for it me. Saw MC MrsGeezer in there doing it once. Nice stuff Northern, Lot of movement.

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