Notes on my outfit: I seem to have a growing collection of kimonos. Does anyone have any recommendations as to where I can find some more? I’m slightly obsessed!
My fella and I are huge fans of Tampopo, so when we heard the Corn Exchange branch had reopened as a pop up store we both knew we had to go.
The Corn Exchange in Manchester is currently closed for refurbishment and as such the previous retail and restaurant residents have been thrown on to the street… quite literally in Tampopo’s sense.
Opposite Selfridges, under the big screen, Tampopo sits in a little hut cooking up the most delicious oriental food. Going back to their roots, the pop up store aims at recreating an authentic street food vibe. Stripped back to an outdoor setting, plastic table mats and garden furniture, you can almost for just a brief moment pretend that you’re somewhere much more exotic than Manchester city centre.
It’s not just the aesthetics they’ve cut back on, their menu has downsized considerably too. Despite this there’s still a great range of dishes, unless you’re vegetarian that is!
The only dish available for me when I attended was the Tahu Goreng, which was completely different to how I remember it. Tampopo used to offer this dish on the menu a few years ago and what I had this time around seemed to have a totally different look and taste.
None the less, this was an absolutely delicious dish. The tofu was cooked to perfection and took on all of the flavour from the slightly spicy tamarind sauce. Whether it was the new aesthetics or the way the food was presented, it all felt a little closer to its original street food roots. I was very impressed!
Of course, the new setting means that you’re in and out like a café, rather than a restaurant, but that makes it a great place for an afternoon pitstop when you’re shopping in town, or you want something a bit more substantial before a big night out.
I paired my dish with a refreshing mint tea and yummy Thai crackers. The crackers are so moreish that you honestly can’t stop at one, hence why Ryan stole most of them, the swine!
Whilst it may not look like huge portions, Tampopo is certainly filling. With all of the rich flavours and oodles of noodles, it’s easy to fill up fast, that’s why I had mine with mint tea. It helps to cleanse the palette and get rid of that awful post-carb bloating.
I’m not quite sure how long the Tampopo pop up will be around for, but considering how long it will take them to revamp the Corn Exchange I’m guessing it may be around for a while!
If you’re into east asian food, this little hut may be the ultimate sanctuary after a long day of exploring Manchester. Although their indoor restaurant near the town hall has a wider choice for vegetarians.