Don't let the picture fool you, this place was Bu-uh-zzing. For good reason too [read on]. This was captured at approximately 1.30am when we'd finally vaguely stopped chattering and were close to being the last diners sitting. That's when you know it's been a great night. I'd never heard of Chotto Matte until this weekend but had no doubt it would be a great choice from Nick the connoisseur-of-London-town-dining [thank you you-legend for organising]. The place was colourful, sexy [yes, sexy], mysterious and spacious all in one. Chilled music, graffiti walls, granite and dark wood furnishings, it felt pretty luxurious or as we all described it "a great date night venue". Date night or not, this place is definitely worth a visit - their menu is quirky [described as Peruvian flavours married with classic Japanese dishes], and delicious as. Every dish we had was yummy [even the edamame stood out as one of the best of the best] and the fruity sake was a lovely surprise. Next time, I'll have to test their pisco sours, particularly as there's a whole menu dedicated to them...
where || Chotto Matte, 11-13 Frith Street, London W1D 4RB
edamame. // one of the best edamame I've had in London - soft and flavoursome.
seabass ceviche, seabass sashimi, sweet potato, peruvian corn, coriander, chive oil, citrus sauce. // I recently learnt how to make ceviche, and have a lot of respect for this dish. Subtle flavours brought together to make one big delicious flavour combination - I loved this starter.
ebi harumaki ponzu salsa, prawn spring roll, shiitake, yuzu, shiso, ponzu salsa. // Probably my least favourite of the evening, these spring rolls were tasty but for me wasn't as fresh-tasting as some of the other dishes.
nikkei gyoza, pork, prawn and cassava dumplings served on aji amarillo, sweet potato puree. // Really yummy gyoza, I could have eaten lots of these!
sake dragon cut-roll, with salmon and avocado. // My favourite of the two sushi we order, this was a simple, classic combination executed really well. Yummy.
ebi tempura cut-roll, with prawn and peruvian chilli. // The added crunch of the tempura made this sushi - not as good as Dotori's crunch roll though, they're yet to be beaten.
pollo den miso, chicken miso, carrot, daikon, yellow chilli salsa. // fresh flavours with a little hit from the chilli salsa; I enjoyed the crunch and seasoning of the carrot and daikon adds as well.
lomo a la parrilla, beef fillet, spicy teriyaki, pomegranate salsa. // I didn't eat this but everyone else said it was the best dish of the evening so I think that probably means you should try it!
barriguita de chanchito, pork belly, nashi pear, yellow tomato salsa. // pork belly is naturally very fatty so I loved how the nashi pear and salsa cut a little bit of sharpness through the dish - it was the perfect combo.
tentáculos de pulpo, octopus, yuzu, purple potato. // I didn't try this dish but Adri said it was delicious so again another one you should probably try!
yucca frita, cassava wedges, smoked panca dip. // wooowee, what a lovely add to the meal [and a great shout from Nick]. The best cassava chips I've tried so far - not sure how they did it but the level of starchy-ness I'd usually expect was just not there, these were super fluffy, yummy and delicious with a kick of that panca.
salted caramel chocolate fondant, orange compote, vanilla ice cream. // I didn't try this dish but Adri and KK loved so I take their word that it was great!
ecuador 64, vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate sauce. // this was such a simple dish and yet it was on another level - the soft, velvety, super chocolatey sauce was in perfect marriage with the vanilla bean ice cream.
brulée de la passion, with almond pyramid, aji amarillo gel, guava sorbet. // the dessert of all desserts so far on my foodie journey. I absolutely fell head over heels for this because it was the perfect dessert criteria for me: light but creamy passion fruit crème brûlée, raspberries, aji amarillo gel, very light almond financiers and a mouth-watering guava sorbet which genuinely tasted like what I imagine unicorn tears would taste like. It was that Good. I could have taken a tub load of this sorbet home to bed with me. #TrueStory
the dining philosophy.
Chotto Matte's dining style is based on the philosophy of sharing. The menu is based around four distinct cooking sections: sushi bar, barbecue, sautée and tempura. Designed to be the centre-piece of the table, dishes are served on small plates and everyone is recommended selecting 4-5 dishes. This is proper job communal dinning so if you prefer eating your own dishes in bigger portions, this might not be the place for you!
The sharing element also extended into the art of drinking Japanese sake. KK selected a citrus sake for us to share which was really tasty. It's been two whole years since my first experience of sake so I had to google the art of drinking sake to refresh my memory. A few tips are:
- Sake is usually drunk while snacking rather than a full meal, for example with sashimi.
- You should always fill your neighbour's cup, never your own.
- The tokkuri should be held with both hands [right hand above the left] when pouring, never hold the neck.
- It's polite to hold your cup [using the right hand, on the palm of the left] when it is being filled.
- Finally, to toast in a Japanese restaurant you say "Kampai" [make sure you clink lower to your elders].
hope you all had a friends-and-fun filled weekend too!