It's very pretty but one visit to Tattu is probably enough, says Gaby Soutar

In Japan, they throw hanami festivals to celebrate the blooming of sakura.

These plants are symbolic, as they represent the transience of life, and the Japanese phrase “mono no aware” – the awareness that nothing lasts forever.

I much prefer cherry blossoms to jaggy and blingy Christmas trees.

Still, it’ll be months until that avenue in the Meadows will turn into a brief and frothy Grayson Perry-ish display of girly tutu pink, before leaving a trail of dirty confetti along the path.

For now, we’ll have to make do with the canopy of faux cherry blossoms inside Edinburgh’s upmarket new launch, Tattu, which has branches in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

It opened a couple of months ago, but I had to wait for their three-week half-price soft launch period to end, and it’s been so booked up since that we could only bag a 5:30pm spot on a Tuesday night.

As an eminently Instagrammable spot, other early bird diners were snapping selfies and pictures of everything, from the koi carp painting on the ceiling, to the golden Buddha en route to the toilets.

Someone sitting beside us took a photo of the table with nothing on it.

The waiting staff gently guide you through the expensive fusion menu.

We were recommended two to four of the smaller plates (at around £10 a pop) to start, a pair of main dishes (from £14-£80), a couple of sides, and “leave room for pudding”.

Starters were a mixed bag.

We enjoyed the canapé-like salmon sashizza (£9) – a Snoop Doggy Dogg-esque portmanteau of sashimi and pizza, from the Raw and Seared section.

There were four bite-sized crispy crackers topped in stamps of raw salmon, with sides sealed by five spice, tiny cubes of pickled cucumber, blobs of truffle tapenade and a wash of spicy “yuzu kosho aioli”.

If dumplings could wear shoulder pads and be contestants on The Apprentice, they would resemble our Dim Sum of chicken truffle shumai (£7.50), four dense bollards dunked into a greasy lake of soy and truffle oil and topped by black fungi frisbees.

Our Small Plate option of lamb’s lion head tacos (£11) was pretty unexciting. There were four soft tortillas, filled with crisped up lamb mince and salad-y bits. Flavour was provided thanks to the coconut-y dip on the side.

Our main-sized plates included the wok-fired angry bird (£16), which featured pleasantly chewy batter-clad bits of chicken in a sweet sesame, honey and soy sauce, with peppers in the mix. The only heat came from a few dried chillies, so its angry levels were about the level of Rockin’ Robin or Rod Hull’s Emu.

The ginger miso black cod (£31), a dish made famous by London restaurant Nobu sometime in the Noughties, was a big old chunky and buttery caramelised fillet of fish, presented in an unfurled hoba leaf, with shredded daikon and a wedge of lime of the side.

I also had some plain tasting jasmine rice (£4) and my dining partner went for the duck egg fried rice (£5.50), which was dry, with bits of spongy sausage in the mix.

Since our outlay was escalating fast, we shared one pudding, the cherry blossom (£11). As part of this experience, the waitress poured liquid into the bowl, and dry-ice was released, billowing close to the table like a misty medieval moor. Everyone stared.

I haven’t drawn this much attention since I walked around town with my skirt tucked into the back of my tights. Still, it’s that kind of place. It was another diner’s birthday, and they put a sparkler in her pudding that was more like a flame thrower.

Once the haar had dispersed, we felled the dessert, which consisted of a dark chocolate tree trunk and a puff of pink candyfloss.

To complete the landscape, there was chocolate soil, nasturtium and pansy flowers, plus a fluffy compost of various cherry-flavoured foams, “winterberry” purée and mousses.

The food is visually fun, tastes average, but the bill was one of my biggest of the year.

So is it worth a second visit? Nah.

After the initial excitement wanes, this place might just be as ephemeral as cherry blossom.

Tattu Edinburgh

18 West Register Street, Edinburgh

(0131-558 1922, www.tattu.co.uk)

Tattu, Edinburgh, restaurant review
Food65%
Ambience70%
68%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (10 Votes)
51%

About The Author

Gaby Soutar

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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