The Spinningfields Team had the pleasure of meeting the one and only Clifton Muil, Executive Chef at Tattu, to explore what they have planned for 2017’s Chinese New Year celebrations. It is the year of the rooster and Tattu aim to celebrate in style, with the creation of new fitting drinks, dishes and performances over this special weekend.
How much influence does Chinese culture and heritage have on you as a chef?
It plays a massive part. I am fascinated by the variation of cuisine that you find in different provinces of China. Each have their own signature dishes, cooking methods and style of food, which comes down to their geographical location and the produce that’s available for them to use, as well as the cooking methods that have been handed down through generations. These ideas have influenced the menu at Tattu considerably; we like to focus each dish around strong traditional flavours and use those cultural influences to push the boundaries and develop dishes into something more contemporary and unique for our customers.
Can you remember your first experience of Chinese cuisine?
Yes, like it was yesterday! I was treated to a Peking duck at a friend of mine’s restaurant. The flavours where truly out of this world; the texture, the way it was served, everything about it blew me away. It was probably the moment that really turned my head as a chef to begin exploring Chinese cuisine.
How does Tattu’s approach to Asian flavours differ from the traditional?
We use traditional flavours and follow the principles of Chinese cooking, which is to blend spice, seasoning, acidity, and sweetness in different ways to create dishes that are balanced but with a clear primary principle. For example the spice in our Szechuan sea bass, versus the sweetness and slight sharpness of our cherry hoisin. We also like to elevate dishes to a higher standard and add a little luxury where we can, that’s what Tattu is all about – the attention to detail. We use the freshest and most premium ingredients available to create exceptional dishes for our guests. Take our kimchi and Wagyu dumpling for example, it’s a classic Chinese dumpling elevated buy using Wagyu beef, the tenderness of which works perfectly in dim sum.
How have you seen Chinese New Year grow in importance as a celebration in Manchester?
This is only my second Chinese New Year in Manchester, but I’ve been so impressed by the effort that the city puts into the celebration. It’s great to see the blend of traditional activities combined with more contemporary arts and music, so people can see what Chinese culture is all about, both the old and the new. The feeling around is that more and more restaurants are embracing the celebration, so it will be exciting to see how far it’s come in the last 12 months.
What can diners expect from a Chinese New Year experience at Tattu?
Diners can expect the unique experience that Tattu delivers with some traditional touches embracing the spirit of Chinese New Year. There will be a few special additions to the food and drink menu across the weekend, which we’ve been developing over the last couple of weeks, a main course dish and a cocktail both inspired by the Year of the Rooster. We’ll also be decorating the cherry blossom with traditional red lanterns and on Saturday 28th January we will have some Chinese performers entertaining guests in the evening – we’re all really excited about it.
Tell us about the dish you’ve devised for Chinese New Year.
It’s our interpretation of a classic Cantonese chicken dish that we’ve developed with some new flavours which represent the characteristics of the rooster – a fire sign in the Chinese zodiac. So there’s a kick of heat and a playful zing of citrus, beautifully present in a contemporary way but keeping all the flavour you would expect from Cantonese chicken.
The bar team have also created a Year of the Rooster cocktail which features Manchester gin, rhubarb, homemade red berry and hibiscus tea, topped with lemonade, and a rose sugar rim. It’s a crisp and sweet cocktail that makes for the perfect way to start your new year celebrations.
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