Tampopo is a chain of East Asian restaurants popping up across the UK. The newly opened Bristol branch offers great value dishes which are served promptly by friendly and efficient staff.
Situated smack bang in the middle of the new Cabot Circus development in Bristol, Tampopo sits right next door to the Cinema Du Luxe. The restaurant has a smallish shop front as the main dining area is long and thin.
It's beautifully decorated, with orange lantern-style lamps hanging from the ceiling. The tables are long and bench-style, with small stools fixed at intervals.
Tampopo is always busy - which means it has a great atmosphere. The long tables and stools to sit on mean you're likely to find yourself sharing a table with others - and may be sitting very close to them too. This all adds to the experience of eating in the East Asian-style.
It seems to be mainly frequented by young couples, although families are welcomed and a children's menu is available. It all depends how adventurous your children are when it comes to eating Asian-style food.
The staff in here are great. Very friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. When you order your food, your waiter or waitress writes the number of your dish on your paper placemat (sound familiar Wagamama goers?).
Table settings are minimalistic - paper placemat and disposable chopsticks (fork available upon request) and the restaurant feels ultra modern and chic.
It's also impressive that although the tables are turned around very quickly, the general feeling remains relaxed and unhurried...although do expect to queue if pop in for lunch at the weekend.
Tampopo's food is simply fantastic. The menu is sizeable, with a very wide variety of dishes available. All the food available is 'East Asian' - think Thai, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Malaysian. There is also emphasis on healthy eating as all dishes contain natural ingredients.
A range of small dishes are available to have as a starter or with your main dish. The option is yours. These range from £3.50 to approx £10 for a platter for two. Dishes are as diverse as miso soup and pickles to Malaysian satay chicken skewers.
The diversity of dishes continues with the mains, with more than 20 available. Choose from noodles in soup, curries, rice dishes, pad Thai, spicy laksa, or sauce based dishes with side orders of rice or noodles. Portion sizes are large, served promptly (less than 15 minutes) and at less than a tenner each (some are as cheap at £7.50), great value.
One word of caution - although some of the very hot dishes are flagged up on the menu, most of the dishes have a fairly spicy kick (it is East Asian cuisine after all). If you're not a big fan of at least moderately spicy food, this might not be the place for you.
Desserts are available too, and these all have a palate cleansing Asian twist. Think spiced ginger creme brule or fresh mango sorbet. Prices are around the £4 mark.
A moderate range of drinks is available. Bottled beers (Lao and Tiger among others) will set you back about £3.50 per bottle. A range of wines is also available, by the glass or bottle. Expect to pay from £4 per glass or £12.95 per bottle.
Bottled Coke and Diet Coke is available too, as is freshly squeezed orange juice. Try the homemade lemonade or lime and soda for something refreshingly different. All soft drinks are approx £2 each (with fresh juice being a little more - approx £2.50).
Hot drinks are available, choose from green, jasmine or mint tea - served in a small teapot, or strong Vietnamese-style coffee. Again, these are reasonably priced at less than £2 each.
The Last Word
Tampopo is a fantastic restaurant for a quick bite. Food is first rate and the selection available is impressive. All of this, combined with the fact that prices are so reasonable, make Tampopo a good stop for quick nosh.