Nov 6 2013

Chotto Matte

I describe Chotto Matte to most people as a sort of wannabe restaurant, it is a mix of Zuma, Sushi Samba and Novikov yet not as good as either of them. You sort of know what Chotto Matte is trying to do, everyone in London these days likes Japanese/ Latin fusion food (restaurants like Sushi Samba, Sushinho, a trend that was started by Nobu many years ago), as it is light and funky and tasty and Chotto Matte is trying to cater to the clientele that likes this type of food. Having said these criticisms, there were some delicious dishes at Chotto Matte that I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

Chotto Matte in Japanese means “wait a minute" or "excuse me a bit" and the restaurant is located in Soho and was opened during the London Fashion week, and it is supposed to bring “the energy of underground Tokyo to the streets of Soho”. The building is black and covers many floors and does stand out from the outside in Soho as it almost feels too modern and sophisticated in Soho, which is a bit quirky and trendy. Chotto Matte serves Japanese and Peruvian fusion food and is spread across three floors, but I only saw two of them. When I first arrived I was not very happy with the service as they asked for my reservation name, showed me to the bar on the ground floor where my friends were already waiting, but did not offer to take my coat, and later I had to ask for them to take my coat, they did not seem to think it was important to ask. The ground floor had a nice curved bar made out of lava stone, as I later found out, but it was very empty at 6.30 when I arrived, although I am sure it could get busier later. Adjacent to this bar is a raised dining area complete which fits 55 people and fixed-price raw bar where master sushi chef Tetsuya Kato (who has apparently worked as a chef to the Emperor of Japan!!!!) serves sushi and raw specialties. The main designer of the restaurant is Andy Martin who is trying to “fuse both natural materials such as lava stone and burnt cedar with art inspired by Tokyo’s contemporary urban culture”. There are some cool things going on around the restaurant, like a large-scale graphic illuminated by UV light spread across the lower hallway, designed by Houxo Que, a Tokyo based painter and graffiti artist.

 

We did not sit on the ground floor though and were escorted on a spiral, burnt-timber staircase to the first floor that has another dining area. The first floor dining area has an open robata grill and a sushi bar on the other side and seats 100 people. We were sitting quite close to the robata grill and whilst at first I liked it, as I could see the cooking and also feel a nice smell of cooked meats coming my way, I later was discussing with my friends Is and William that it actually was a bit too overpowering, the smoke was strong and your clothes could easily smell just from sitting so close. On the first floor there is an art work by Tom Blackford – a local, London based graffiti artist. The main chef here on the ground floor is Jordan Sclare.

 

The menu features cold and hot starters, salads, bigger Peruvian and Japanese influenced dishes, hot dishes and Anticucheria (meat and fish cooked in traditional Peruvian marinade of aji panca and aji amarillo chilli, chargrilled over hot coals and robata dishes). If you don’t want to go through the menu and chose dishes yourself, you can also go for one of the two tasting menus for £40 or £45. We decided to choose different dishes from different sections and then share them among the three of us. First we ordered the taco selection from the snack section and we got taco shelves with three different fillings – “tuna spicy miso”, “snow crab yuzu”, “miso vegetables”, and we could build our own tacos by adding the filling to the tacos. I personally in general, like these sort of tacos but here I did not enjoy them. I thought the shell of the taco was too thick it was sort of difficult to build the taco as you ended up with too much shell and too little filling, so I thought the shell was too overpowering for the filling due to the thickness.

 

After the tacos, we got the “lomo tataki”, which was beef fillet with rocket, tomato, chilli and sharon fruit sauce, as well as a Seafood ceviche which had prawns, scallops, sea bass, sweet potato, Peruvian corn, coriander, chive oil and citrus sauce. I usually like seared beef dishes but here I thought it lacked a bit of flavour and it just was not as good as it could be, or other restaurants do. The ceviche was very nice and citrucy though. The star dish though was the next one, octopus spring rolls. At the end of the meal all of us thought this was one of our favourite dishes from the whole meal, and it just tasted so interesting, unusual and good.  The other dishes that we ordered were “Tuna and yellowtail tartar” which had spring onions, ginger, shiso, tomatoes and blackberry salsa and which was quite nice, as well as tostaditas with tuna sashimi, corn crisp, jalapeño, coriander and wasabi, which in theory should have been very good as I love tostaditas, but I thought the base was too thick and overpowering for the tuna sashimi that covered it. “Cangrejos de concha blanda” or Soft shell crab, yellow chilli, yuzu was decent, not amazing, but the dish that we really enjoyed was once again an octopus dish called “Tentáculos de pulpo” which had octopus, yuzu, purple potato, peruvian chilli. The octopus was delicious and just so interesting with all the different added flavours.

 

After these dishes we moved on to the more main course type of dishes and we had ordered “Pollo picante” which was chicken, coriander potato and Peruvian chilli. The dish was beautifully presented with a little flower and the coriander sauce scattered all over the plate, a little piece of art, it really impressed us all in terms of the presentation, but the taste of it was jus not quite amazing, it was good, but it felt like something was missing.  We also had ordered “Vegetales picantes a la plancha” or vegetables, chilli, garlic and yuzu, which was a sort of nice accompanying dish to the meal and I liked the chilli with the vegetables. Another dish we ordered was “Chuleta de cordero ahumada” or lamb chops with quinoa, coriander and peruvian chilli miso which were quite average, not as good as some other restaurants do.

 

We also had ordered some sushi, which were the last to arrive during the meal, which is a bit strange as usually other restaurants serve sushi before the main courses. I ordered a few “aburi sushi” which was nigiri that was partly grilled and partly raw, and a waiter came with a fire burner and grilled the sushi from one side in front of us. We had ordered “Barriguita de chanchito Anticucho” or Pork belly marinated in Anticucho
sushi as well as a vegetarian sushi “Nasu miso” or Aubergine Marinated in Miso. I loved the little touch of flaming the sushi in front of us and I found the pork belly sushi especially tasty and super soft when you ate it. We also ordered a tuna sushi roll, as my dinner buddies really fancied a tuna roll, which was an ordinary but good tuna roll.

 

After the meal we ordered two deserts to share, “brulee de la passion” which was served with almond pyramids, aji Amarillo gel and guava sorbet, which was delicious and a really interesting desert. It was quite nice to have the sweet passion brulee with little almond cakes and a delicious sorbet. I had also chosen a few sorbets and I found their section of sorbets very interesting, they had cherry, guava, lime and lemongrass sorbets all of which I chose and the flavours of them were intense and delicious.

 

I did have quite a nice meal in Chotto Matte, but as I said it just sort of lacks originality not in terms of the dishes it does, as a lot of the dishes are very original, and I have not seen before, but in terms of the concept, because as I said there are so many other these type of restaurants in London that do high style dining of healthy Japanese/ Latin food. A lot of the dishes were very good though and if you like this sort of food and ambience, you will like Chotto Matte.

 

Date: 06/ 11/ 13

Price for 3 people with alcohol: a bit over £200, I did not see the full amount as my friend Is got the bill

Location: Soho

Chotto Matte on Urbanspoon

Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

Chotto Matte
11–13 Frith Street W1D 4RB
London
United Kingdom
GB
Chotto Matte Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5