Dinner at Chotto Matte, Soho

Chotto Matte

When it came to choosing somewhere to go for dinner with my friend Fiona (a real foodie with a great blog here), I was quick to suggest Chotto Matte, a relatively new restaurant (it only opened in September last year) that has already featured on some ‘best of’ lists. Chotto Matte claims to bring the ‘energy’ of underground Tokyo to London and serves Nikkei cuisine (Japanese-Peruvian fusion food). Having had a delicious meal at Sushisamba last year, my expectations were high.

We went on a Friday night, and the bar downstairs was heaving even at 6.30. Luckily, though we were half an hour early, our table upstairs was ready, so we decided to sit down and get started on the food! We loved the open kitchen, and the graffiti on the walls is pretty fun, too:

Open Kitchen

Unfortunately for Fiona, I don’t eat meat, but we still managed to sample something from every section of the extensive menu. We started with Cassava and Sweet Potato Chips, which came with Yellow Tomato Salsa and Guacamole:

Chips

The chips were nice and crispy and the guacamole very creamy. For me, both of the dips could have done with a bit more kick, but then I tend to use a lot of chili in my own cooking, and they weren’t quite up to the standard of the incredible Plantain Chips with Aji Amarillo at Sushisamba.

We then moved onto the Seabass Ceviche, which looked incredible:

Ceviche

Luckily it tasted just as good: incredibly fresh and fragrant, with crunchy bits of corn for added texture, and beautifully marinated pieces of fish.

Next up, the Tuna and Yellowtail Tartar, in blackberry sauce:

Tartar

I love tuna tartar, and the addition of the delicate and yet fatty yellowtail here elevated it from good to very good, though I wasn’t entirely convinced by the fruity sauce.

We had also ordered a couple of vegetable dishes, including one called ‘Paperthin Vegetables’:

Salad

This was wafer-thin slices of daikon, butternut squash and beetroot, with broccoli florets, red onion and a handful of quinoa. It looked absolutely stunning and we both agreed it was one of our favourite dishes of the evening. The vegetables were delicate yet crunchy and absolutely full of flavour, and the fruit-based sauce brought everything together.

Then we had Tiger Prawn Teriyaki and Sliced Courgette with Beetroot Crisps and Chilli Bean Sauce:

Prawns  Courgette

Again, both dishes were superb: the prawns were perfectly cooked and came in deliciously sweet and gooey teriyaki marinade. The courgettes were another highlight, having been marinated and grilled to perfection, then topped with the crisp beetroot, shallots and sweet sauce.

Then we had Corn Fritters, which were delicious mouthfuls filled with beans and avocado, crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, and resting on a bed of purple mashed potato:

Fritters

It was a pity that the last dish to arrive was the worst one of the evening. We felt we couldn’t eat in a Japanese restaurant without having either sushi or sashimi, so we ordered four pieces of ‘Aburi Sushi’ (tuna, salmon, yellowtail and miso aubergine, each with a different sauce on top) which are then flamed at the table:

Nigiri

It was also, at almost £12, the most expensive dish we ordered. The salmon and aubergine were good, but we felt that for four pieces, one of which was vegetable, it was a little overpriced, and just not up to the excellent standard we had so far enjoyed.

Of course, we couldn’t resist dessert, and decided to share the El trio Nikkei of miso mousse, white chocolate foam and lime and lemongrass sorbet:

Dessert

The miso mousse went perfectly with the white chocolate foam (luckily not too sweet, as the mousse was surprisingly so) and the citrus sorbet cut through the sweetness. The addition of a sort of crumble was genius, adding another textural dimension to the dish. The only element we questioned was the diced sweet potato, as we couldn’t work out what it brought to the plate and it lacked flavour.

The service was fine, but not great; it took half an hour for the cocktail I ordered when we had briefly sat in the bar downstairs to appear in the restaurant upstairs, and our waitress was often a bit uncertain, always nervously asking if she could clear empty plates and glasses away, but our meal was, in general, so good that we didn’t mind.

The bill came to £47 each, including service and a drink, which isn’t cheap, but I’m willing to pay that much for food of this standard.

http://www.chotto-matte.com/

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Categories: Food & Drink

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