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Tampopo Restaurant16, Albert Square
Tel: 0161 819 1966
Fax: 0161 819 1866
From what I'd read about Tampopo, it seemed remarkably similar to Wagamama's, in
Soho. Marg and I had been with Karl and Rayanne to the Motorcycle Show at G-Mex
on Sunday 9th Jan 2000, and needed to eat fairly cheaply, and locally.
We arrived just after 5:00pm so narrowly missed the fixed-price session.
Marg and Rae started with the Tempura Vegetables, with Chili and Plum sauce, Karl settled for the Honey Ribs, and I tried the Tofu in Ginger and Bean Sauce. I decided to order a dish of Gyoza - Pork Dumplings served with Sweet Soy Sauce for us all to try.
For Mains, Marg chose Mee Penang - Chicken in aromatic red curry and coconut cream sauce - served on a bed of rice vermicelli, garnished with pickled radish and red chilli.
Rae had Mee Lad Na - Pork, Broccoli, mange tout and onion on flat rice noodles.
Karl had Daging Lembu Goreng - Beef with ginger and shallots wok-fried in oyster sauce, served on steamed rice.
A bottle of California Red, and four bottles of Kirin wet our whistles quite nicely.
The vegetable tempura was enjoyed by all. Karl was more than happy with the Ribs, and I quite liked the Tofu, though the sauce was perhaps a little salty. We all enjoyed the Gyoza.
Marg thought her dish was too predominantly coconut flavoured, and decided that we should swap! I polished it off in short order - I particularly liked the coconut, and fresh coriander flavours, though the chilli was hot enough to cause comment from all who tried it. Marg was happier with my Nasi Goreng - wok-fried rice with chicken, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, egg, chilli and shrimp paste garnished with onion flakes (even though Marg hates shrimp!).
Rae also swapped with Karl (after he'd disposed of the beef, and pickled ginger)
Total was £63
Overall, our verdict was that the meal ha been an experience we'd all enjoyed - unusual (to us) flavours which, even though each of us preferred some to others, had been worth trying.
The service was pretty good (though at that time, the place was only perhaps 1/3 to 1/2 full). Facilities were of a good standard, and this type of establishment, in my view, always benefits from having the kitchen in full view.
The menu seems expansive enough that most people would be able to find something completely to their taste, and we all look forward to our next visit.