Pan Asian restaurant centrally located -- at the old Corn Exchange building right across Arndale Shopping Center and near the train station. There is outside eating area, and basement inside restaurant which is darker and reminds me of Wagamama -- clean benches, open kitchen that you can see. The location makes it trendy without the trendy prices.
I went during lunch time, almost 2 p.m. and the place was still pretty busy.
I had the Miso soup with japanese pickles. For the price of GBP1.90 it is so much value. My tray had gingered chili, pickled julienne cucumber and radish. Not mini sizes but pretty substantial for side dishes. The miso soup was good with lots of spring onions and seaweeds. Slightly overly salty but still good. I am VERY GLAD that they brought out my main dish without making this order a "starter". Simple because this is good as a side dish to pepper up a main course. I am glad that Tampopo knew to "educate" its guests in how asian cuisine must be eaten, which is, you can enjoy your meal with a side dish and the usual style of "consume all starters first, then eat your main course on its own." -- Thanks, Tampopo.
I also had the chicken adobo. I know my Filipino adobo (no, i am NOT filipino but i have had my years in the islands) -- it was DELICIOUS, and cooked to authentic perfection. Complete with black peppercorn and bay leaves. The sauce was thick and gooey -- which is good and prevents the plate from getting too messy. Kudos to the chef, this was done right. They put a few thinly shred fried bananas on the side, which is great. They also put a few broccoli bits which -- ok, broccoli is not native to Philippine cuisine but I guess it was as a counterpoint to the vinegar tartness of the sauce. I guess sliced radish or tomatoes would've been more true-to-cuisine, but the broccoli was good and it "dressed up" the plate with a bit of green against all that brown. IT'S ALL GOOD!
The variety of the menu is very commendable. You get a good sampling of Asian and Southeast Asian food. -- excellent.
The surroundings were clean. A bit dark but ok.
The Service. Oy. Room for improvement. Seating -- the attendant tried to seat me at an area which I felt was too open and visible to incoming guests (right at the front facing the door). I was hesitating whether to face into the restaurant or out to the entrance .... and this hesitation seemed to have irritated the attendant slightly as she asked "so which will it be?" complete with the nervous asian giggle -- HELL-O GIRL! We are restaurant patrons, ok? Behave accordingly. Taking order only required me to say it once and the lady who took my order (THANKFULLY -- not the one who seated me) did it right. She also checked on me once to see that every thing was ok. This is good. There was however no refill of water -- which is my usual complaint about British restaurants -- the guest usually has to ask for a refill (a tedious task of having to catch a server's attention) instead of having people routinely check to see if glasses are full. Anyway, i DID ask for a refill of water and IT NEVER CAME. Checking out was a bit drawn also. i asked for the check and it took sometime for her to come with it. And when it came, it took forever for her to take my payment. I had intended to pay with a credit card and leave a tip. BUT THEN, it took so long, I decided to just pay in cash and sorry, i had no coins for tip. I do not understand why there should be that much downtime in between --- this is after all, lunchtime, and people have a rather limited time to wait.
So on the whole, I would say, yes, visit. There will be minor irritants and kinks with the service -- not overly bad, but still lots of room for improvement -- but you WILL enjoy the food.
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