Last month I got the chance to visit the popular and successful Japanese Peruvian restaurant and cocktail bar Chotto Matte in the heart of Soho for a memorable lunch on a rare warm day in London.
Known for its Japanese Peruvian culinary fusion and Nikkei cuisine, Chotto Matte offers diners what can only best be described as an unforgettable multi-sensory experience.
Overseen by Executive Chef Jordan Sclare, Chotto Matte’s innovative menu offers the finest quality of organic and sustainable produce with Sclare continuing to reinvigorate the menu to push the boundaries of traditional Nikkei techniques.
Located on a quiet Frith Street with very little traffic and housed in a striking 1960s modernist building, we enjoyed alfresco-like dining as the windows on the ground floor open all the way up to let in the late summer sunshine and warmth.
The restaurant’s interior which is set over two floors, was designed by Andy Martin who has designed Chotto Matte’s other restaurants and combines features that include a bespoke cast glass wall panel and accents of natural lavastone, which is an Indigenous rock found in southern Peru, beside a Japanese inspired graphic backdrop. The ground floor has an internal dining space, lounge and bar area with a striking spiral staircase that leads upstairs to the first floor dining area.
The first Chotto Matte restaurant opened back in 2013 by Australian founder and CEO of NZR Restaurant group, Kurt Zdesar, who was European Director for Nobu and helped to establish the original Hakkasan. There are currently plans to open new Chotto Matte restaurants in Doha, Riyadh and San Francisco next year.
This particular restaurant here in Soho was in fact the first in London solely dedicated to the unparalleled Nikkei cuisine, making it one of the London’s top dining’s destinations.
The menu symbolises the integration of two cultures that share a deep appreciation for fresh fish and seasonal ingredients, namely Japanese sushi and sashimi, and Peruvian ceviche which is central to their cuisine. Nikkei is a unique blend of these culinary traditions, combining Japanese and Peruvian ingredients and techniques that have been used for over a century ago.
Here at Chotto Matte they use the best of organic and no GMO ingredients and are passionate about championing a ‘no waste’ approach to their food production, with the chefs including any un-used ingredients in innovative ways in other dishes. For example, the lean part of the salmon flesh is used in the rolls, while the fillet parts are used for making sashimi.
Our waiter Alex looked after us superbly and suggested that the two of us share a cross section of the dishes to get a real flavour of the menu as we tucked into some Edamame.
To drink, we started with a chilled South African Chardonnay that was lightly oaked and paired perfectly with the delicious Sea Bass Ceviche, their signature dish, and Yellowtail Nikkei Sashimi. The Sea bass is a mix of leche de tigre, chive oil, sweet potato, Peruvian corn and coriander, while the Yellowtail Nikkei sashimi has cherry tomatoes, Jalapeño, coriander and a yuzu truffle soy sauce.
That was then followed with a French Pinot Noir that went really well with the Tentáculos de Pulpo Octopus, Yuzu and Purple Potato, which was an interesting dish, but also excellent. The sushi rolls are also well worth trying, in particular the Dragon Roll with prawn tempura, salmon, avocado and unagi sauce, leaving you wanting more! And if you like Tempura, then get excited for the Sea Bass Tempura, Spicy Chicken Karaage and Snow Cab Croquettes.
The à la carte menu offers four Nikkei menu choices as well as a vegetarian menu, while on Saturdays there is a Harajuku Brunch available with the option of unlimited champagne and cocktails to make it an even more enjoyable start to the weekend.
The lunch menu gives you the hard decision of whether to have the sharing menu, which is what we had or their Bento Boxes with a choice of Teriyaki Chicken, Amazonian BBQ Salmon, Vegetable or their Signature Bento 1 and 2 and Deluxe Bento Box.
Do leave some room for a dessert to round off your meal though, as they should not be missed. We opted for the Chotto Matte Dessert Platter so we could try a range of desserts, which include Mochi Ice Cream with Mango, coconut and green tea and goes well with a Plum Sake. On the other hand, the Caramalised Banana or Matcha Waffle might be more to your liking. For the chocoholics you can choose between the Magical Chocolate Ball, Warm Chocolate Fondant or Chocolate Brownie with a coconut sorbet and strawberry coulis.
Whatever you do choose, you are sure to have an enjoyable and memorable experience and will look forward to going back and tyring something else from the extensive and high quality menu at Chotto Matte.
Chotto Matte, 11-13 Frith Street, London, W1D 4RB, England.
Tel: +44 (0)207 042 7171
Located in the heart of Soho, Chotto Matte is a short 5-minute walk from Tottenham Court Road station on the Central and Northern lines, a 6-minute walk from Leicester Square station on the Northern and Piccadilly lines or an 8-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus station on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines. The restaurant is open Monday to Friday from midday to 1:30am, Saturday from 11:00am to 1:30am and Sunday from midday to midnight.
Type of Restaurant: Japanese Peruvian Restaurant and Cocktail Bar
Price Band: Medium to high
Insider Tip: Do try at least one of their sushi and sashimi dishes – you won’t be disappointed.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Chotto Matte