I have a particular food craving, and it happens quite frequently. It’s not a dish that is that easy to get hold of, and I have yet to find it on a takeaway menu close to home. I’m talking about the classic Pan-Asian dish, Pad Thai. My ultimate love in food. Just who would have thought that a giant dish of noodles would be the way to my heart? In Manchester, I know of just two places that do a superb Pad Thai, one of them being Tampopo. With the newest location of the restaurant at the Corn Exchange, I had to go and visit, and take my little flame haired beauty Hayley for a good old catch up.
Starting the feasting session with a traditional Tiger beer, we sat and perused the extensive menu, practically salivating at the dishes that were on offer. Now, although I love Pad Thai and knew that it was my dish of choice, I was tempted for a moment by the Katsu Curry and Chicken Massaman curry. I have found that Grand Pacific in Manchester create one of the finest Massaman curries, so I will definitely have to go back to Tampopo and compare. We had the sharing platter to start, which was a great choice as we could try several of the favourites from the menu. Spring rolls, corn fritters, sticky wings which fell off the bone, pork dumplings, coconut prawns and satay skewers, it’s a good job that we had an appetite. I don’t think that I could have picked a favourite from the platter but if I really had to to, I’d say the coconut prawns and pork dumplings come highly recommended. With a selection of dipping sauces, we got stuck in to the delicious flavours and mouth tingling spicy sauces.
I feel that I really need to express my love for Pad Thai somewhat. I don’t know whether it’s because of the sauce, the delicate noodles or the fact that it’s topped with chopped peanuts but there is something about this dish that I find incredibly comforting. It reminds me of a great night out I had in Mexico, where my dish was cooked fresh in front of me. It makes me feel satisfied, and I mean really quite full – so much so, that I couldn’t finish my plate in Tampopo. A simple plate of noodles, chicken and prawn and it’s just perfect.
The Tampopo Pad Thai was everything that I was dreaming of. Fresh, soft and almost translucent rice noodles, with beansprouts, egg, Asian greens and lime brought the most tantalising flavours to my tongue. The chicken was cooked perfectly, whilst the Asian greens had the slightest crunch to them. Chopped peanuts, served on the side, soon got mixed up into the dish whilst I twirled the noodles around my fork. Absolutely beautiful. Now, I will say, that although it doesn’t look like a huge plate of food when it’s delivered, I really struggled to finish it all, and I love my food. I was so full, that I had to pass on dessert, and that is really not like me!
I do have a Tampopo around the corner from work, the original venue in Albert Square. I must admit that now I have seen the menu for the express plates of Gyozas, that I am very much inclined to pop in and get some take out to eat at my desk. If you like Asian dishes, then Tampopo is a great place to head to, to try out some classic dishes at quite a reasonable price for centre of Manchester dining.
*Meal was provided FOC however my love of Pad Thai is my own.