You know these uber-trendy bars in movies? Where Will Smith hangs out in Hitch or Emily Blunt would go to in the Devil Wears Prada (some serious cinematographic references going on here…)? This is exactly how Chotto Matte looks like when you enter. Everybody is polished and beautiful, the lights are dimmed, the music is trendy and slightly too loud, the interior decor is edgy, and in the middle there is me… Looking slightly dishevelled with a runny nose after a walk across cold windy London.
Never judge a book by its cover though! Chotto Matte is like one of those popular kids at school who looks amazing through puberty, got all the friends but is also smart and really nice to hang out with. The place looks intimidating and a bit too stylish BUT the food is incredible and well worth a visit!
We started with some drinks at the bar while waiting for our table. The cocktail menu is extensive and reflects beautifully the fusion cuisine Chotto Matte serves. The main challenge is to pick between the flavours of Japan or Peru. Andrew went to South America with a Pisco Picante (pisco, lime, ginger, apple juice, egg white), whereas I headed to the far-East with a Moshi Moshi (gin, sake, St Germain, sesame, yuzu).
This meal was a belated Christmas dinner with two of our dear friends so we made it special by ordering the Nikkei Sharing Menu II. They have sharing menus for different budgets, and the one we picked was a real (and delicious) treat.
First, we got served corn puffs, which were a little aperitif we enjoyed while sipping on Japanese beers.
It was followed by the Classic Tostadita, tuna sashimi served on a corn crisp, with jalapeño, coriander and a wasabi sauce. Easily one of my favourite dishes on the menu. The tuna melted in the mouth, the crisp added crunchy texture and the wasabi sauce was divine and not too spicy at all.
Then my second favourite dish on the menu arrived – the incredible Nikkei Sashimi. Buttery seabass sashimi served with cherry tomatoes, jalapeño, coriander, and yuzu truffle soy. A-mazing!
The platter of beef filet tataki was excellent. Cooked to perfection (medium-rare of course) and served with smoke aji panca and passion fruit salsa.
We were now half-way through the menu and slightly concerned that it may not be enough. That was until the tuna sushi rolls landed on our table. The picture doesn’t do it justice but the portion was extremely generous for four people!
The Nikkei sepia chicharrones, also known as calamari tempura, were good. But in comparison with everything else, it wasn’t a very memorable dish (my expectations had become extremely high at that point).
What was very memorable on the other hand was the black cod served with yellow chilli miso. Excuse the terrible picture (trendy places lighting never helps) and just trust me, it was excellent!
The last savoury plate served was the Barriguita de chanchito, aka the pork belly. It was topped with a nashi pear and yellow tomato salsa. I am not a pork belly fan in general, but I very much enjoyed this one. The sweet and savoury flavours and the consistency of the meat made a great combination.
Finally came the dessert platter. A selection of mochi ice-cream, passion fruit creme brulee et chocolate ganache. The ice-cream was by far the best, followed by the very rich ganache. The passion fruit creme brulee, on the other hand, just couldn’t compete.
Chotto Matte was one of the best culinary experiences I had in a while. So don’t get intimidated by the place, just get in and join the cool kids’ foodie club!