Our Shekha heads off to Tootoomoo in Islington to taste test its oily tasty take on the current bottomless brunch craze…
Bottomless brunchers, sushi fans, people who really like fried things…
In a Word:
Upon our visit, the restaurant is empty, save for a couple of solo diners and soft bossa nova in the background.
The space lends itself well to intimate dining, not being too big – but also would work well for a group, looking to share the small plates it specialises in.
Wooden tables, blue booths and red and turquoise chairs give pops of colour. Lightbulbs swing in ornate cages, baskets and jars or hang loose alongside raw piping, giving the whole interior a ‘rough luxe’ sort of vibe. Shutters on the walls are reminiscent of the sea – all in all there is a lot going on, but it seems to work in a warm, homely sort of way.
Pan-Asian…as in, Asian food fried in a pan. Hah…
When they say brunch is bottomless – it really is – as much food and booze as you can ingest for 90 minutes and given you finish the drink you currently have. We start with some mojitos and margaritas which pack a huge punch, strong but refreshing, redolent with lime and mint.
The first small plate is a mound of perfectly cooked squid. Crispy on the outside and delicately creamy inside, it is delicious. Generously sprinkled shichimi adds spark and depth to an already moreish dish.
Duck spring rolls are enjoyable, again fried to perfection with a lightly spiced hoisin filling. The duck is rich and meaty without being overpowering, with the tendrils of meat adding textual variety.
A standout dish is the crispy smoked chicken. Coming in thin golden strips on a bed of spring onion and pickle, the flavour is delicately smoky and surprising in its uniqueness. The strips seem to be made of dark meat, which give a real dimension of taste.
Another standout is the Himachi Sashimi, which comes with soy and kimazi wasabi. The wasabi is subtle yet powerful, really bringing out the light and complex nuances of the yellowtail. Spiralized carrot and beetroot act like a palate cleanser for the next sashimi course, a rich buttery salmon which melts in the mouth.
The only duds are popcorn shrimp, which is a little greasy and soggy, and some sesame ribs which are a little too goopy, sweet and overpowering. A seaweed salad could add some much needed greenery to proceedings, but a heavy hand on the dressing means it too is a little sweet – but still delicious in moderation.
While many of the small plates come as “crispy” the oily layer is perfect for soaking up the bottomless cocktails. The food and drinks are incredible value and despite a couple of miss dishes, everything is delicious, fresh and surprisingly well executed. We will definitely be going back to try the rest of the menu – and we will be bringing friends…
78 St Paul’s Road, Islington, N1 2LH