Chotto Matte Soho
11 – 13 Frith St, W1D 4RB
020 7042 7171/www.chotto–matte.com/
020 7042 7171/www.chotto–matte.com/
Situated on a Soho corner in Frith St and overlooking top tapas joint Barrafina is Chotto Matte. The building used to be one of the Giraffe chain and before that it was an undistinguished Italian restaurant that had no place in Soho’s food renaissance.
The restaurant’s proposition is to bring a slice of urban Tokyo to London. The food is Nikkei cuisine, the Peruvian-Japanese fusion we have become familiar with from Nobu, set in a frame of dark wood, steel and manga art, and driven by a pumping soundtrack. The restaurant is full of groups of young women and couples all dressed to impress and excited to be in Soho on a big night out. I feel like their dad but know that I was their age I would want to be there too.
We ordered a couple of cocktails many of which combined Pisco with sake for that Peruvian-Japanese fusion taste.The Cuatro Uvas (£9) was a blend of Pisco, sake, the Elderflower based spirit St Germain, lime, red grapes and celery bitters. It slid down rather too easily and was a perfect summer’s drink.
The Chotto Bellini (£10) was a sparky citrus infused take on the Italian classic mixing up peach, yuzu sake and lime, Prosecco and grapefruit zest.
Sweet and crunchy Cassava chips and sweet potato chips (£3.25) came with yellow tomato salsa and guacamole;
and moreish Padron peppers (£4.50) were as good as the ones at Barrafina and helped soak up the alcohol.
We soon moved on to The Cloudy One! Nigori Sake (£20-180ml)
is unfiltered leaving the sake ‘cloudy’ and giving it a creamy texture and taste. It was perfect with our next courses.
Nikkei sashimi (£9.95)-Yellowtail, cherry tomatoes, jalapeño, coriander, yuzu soy. The soy/citrus dressing of the yuzu soy, the coriander and the hot peppers bring out the Nikkei character of this fragrant and spicy take on the Japanese classic.
Scallop tiradito (£7.95) Scallop sashimi, coriander, jalapeno, black salt, lemon, lime juice. A tiradito is similar to a ceviche but the cut of the fish is different and there are no onions. The finely sliced scallop zinged with the additional citrus, chilli, and coriander flavours in this beautifully presented dish.
Bacalao negro aji miso (£22) Black cod, yellow chilli miso was beautifully cooked with the flesh luminescent and flaking perfectly. The miso added spice and brought out the sweetness of the fish.
Tentaculos de Pulpo (£9.95) Octopus, yuzu, purple potato. Octopus is notoriously hard to cook without the flesh becoming tough however this was tender and tasty and the purple mash was a great accompaniment.
Cameron Tigre Nipon (£9.95) was a straightforward tiger prawn teriyaki with big juicy prawns and a sweet teriyaki sauce.
Ensalada Peruana (£3.25) was a refreshing mix of quinoa, spring onion and pomegranate seeds. It was perfect with the fish dishes.
Pisco Baba (£6.50) was a bit of a disappointment-the sponge needed more alcohol…
Fiona got through her Petit Fours (£7.50) before I could try one but I guess they were good! With dessert we drank some wonderful Daishichi Ume Plum Sake (£15 125 ml) made from luscious Nankou Plums delicately steeped in top quality, undiluted Kimoto Junmai Sake.
It feels completely appropriate to be able to eat Nikkei cuisine in the heart of Soho and the kitchen at Chotto Matte is delivering great food at prices that aren’t unreasonable for the quality. With it’s buzzy ground floor bar and pumping music upstairs it’s not the best place for a quiet night but I’m going to be recommending it to my (grown-up) kids.
Disclosure: The Hedonist was a guest of Chotto Matte
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