- Sushi fans & Sushi fans looking for something with a little extra
- Carnivores (AKA humans who like to eat a lot of meat…sushivores?)
- People who want to drink some Pisco or eat some Quinoa (not so common)
- Fusion foodies (do you guys exist?)
- Up to date London centric foodies looking for somewhere new and ‘hot’
- Lost theatregoers in search of a fine meal
- People who like purple potatoes and those distinctive Perilla flavourings.
In A Word
Japanese / Peruvian
Peru + Japan + Soho = ?
Every now and then you hear about somewhere that people are describing as ‘hot’. A lot of the time, this perhaps comes down to hyperbole and the crowd mentality that leads to stock market crashes and arsenic laced Kool Aid.
And yes, Chotto Mate is certainly vogue right now, having only recently launched during London Fashion Week, 2013, but having had the chance to test their mettle, I’d like to urge you to pay some credence to the hype. Well, if you’re into Peruvian, Japanese or Robata Grill style food, anyway…
What you get is a something of a nod to the Japanese art of beautifully presented understatement, along with some Peruvian touches, within an environment of futuristic Tokyo stylings. I suppose it’s Sino-Peruvian fusion (how’s that for a word?) – novel, but not too novel.
To be honest, I don’t know nearly enough about Peruvian cuisine, but what I can tell you is that modern Peruvian food takes influences from the Japanese who immigrated there. So things do start to sound a bit less like an insane experiment in food combination (not that this would be a bad thing) once you do a little research…
Andy Martin’s design for Chotto Matte creates that not quite cyberpunk ambiance – what looks like a room that has been installed within another room with graffiti walls?
The bar area is hard to describe… spacious futurism might be an attempt at naming it. And it’s bathed in natural light.
And who can neglect to mention the toilets, which are supremely Japanese in their spacious, stark and futuristic style…
There’s an excellent representation of Western & Eastern alcoholic faire here (well, if the menu’s anything to go by). We went for the Sake, just because that seems like the right thing to do when sake is available. They also serve a few varieties of the Peruvian favourite, Pisco – which I still have yet to try (being too distracted by the sake, etc.)
Our friendly Japanese waitress gave us some great advice on what to pair with what – and her recommendations were spot on. I now have an additional two varieties of sake worth remembering and adding to the ‘Want To Buy But Can’t Justify’ List (which also includes rare French wines, and almost anything from Fortnum & Mason or Selfidges)
Anyway… both kinds were served in different styles, and both of which were a goddamn rice wine mouth party with only two people invited.
The Dry, Mineral One – ‘Tosaturu Azure’
This felt like it had a sharper taste and a bigger nose on it than the other – dry.
The ‘Un’ One’ – ‘Shirakabegura Daiginjo’
A sweet, perfectly matched partner to the more citrus flavoured dishes we had later on…
Likewise, the non sake selection is ample, lots of choice in wines, champagne magnums, whiskeys (including a Cask Strength single malt clocking about 61% ABV ooooooooooooooooosh)
As a rule of thumb, a good bottle of sake will probably make you and your co diner ‘merry’, you can probably stop there, unless you’re going all out. We chose not to. Now that my early 20s have passed it seems massively inebriated weekday lunches have disappeared alongside them. Ah well.
The food here is not so much designed to ‘fill you’ as it is to create a gustatory experience, thus the combination of meats and condiments allows perfectly for savouring of portions that are more on the smaller side, but enough to be appreciated. Jordan Sclare, CM’s exec chef, previously did time at the likes of The Savoy & Gordon Ramsey, so you can be almost certain that something very exciting will land on your plate.
I suppose the theme is leaving you wanting a little more (and if that is the theme then they have certainly succeeded). However, since, like many Japanese places, you create a meal from a number of smaller ones, then it all adds up. Add some rice in there as well and unless you’re one of those people who eats competitively (if so, what are you doing in Chotto Matte?) or you’ve just finished a stint on a vegan diet, you should be good to go.
Here’s some of the food. A picture’s worth a thousand words and all that stuff…
As a guy who thinks the Nikkei approach to edible & imbibable substances is splendid, it’s hard to get tired of a good sushi bar. But it goes without saying that there’s a lot of places doing sushi and sashimi, and I suppose if you want to do something memorable in this category, you need to take a bit of a detour, or a risk…?
Well, it seems that Chotto Mate have taken what makes dining at a Bento Bar and tweaked the formula using what I guess is some South American inspiration and a touch of modern Western European presentation, just enough to add enough novelty.
Highly recommended and in a fun part of London to boot!