Friday, 19 December 2014

Chotto Matte


Chotto Matte, a Peruvian-Japanese explosion of colours, flavours and spectacular smells has won me over in a heartbeat. From Chef Jordan Sclare and Michael Paul’s intensly mouth-watering Nikkei cuisine to Tom Blackford (Ink Fetish’s) graffiti covered walls, I was in creative heaven upon arrival. 

The ever-generous Zomato had invited a group of us food fanatic types along for a pisco cocktail master-class in the slick lava-stone bar on the ground floor of the restaurant and a chance to sample some Nikkei cuisine and get our taste-buds tingling. 

Tumbling in from the revoltingly wet weather, we were welcomed with a glass of champagne and the outside world couldn't have felt further away.  

Pisco, a grape based brandy has been produced in Chile and Peru for hundreds of years but has only recently hit London in a big way. Chotto Matte had the bar well stocked and shining with varieties of pisco bottles awaiting their fate. 

We watched as Pisco Sours were whisked up in front of us by this poncho donned fellow .. (pisco, lime, sugar, egg white and Peruvian bitters for those of you who (like me) are new recruits to the pisco revolution).

Chotto Matte's signature pisco bottles stood to attention atop the bar.

Tuna sashimi tostaditas were prepared in front of us against the backdrop of the colourfully explosive graffiti, a perfect match for the bold, modern tastes of this new fusion cooking.

Sweet potato and cassava chips were served in sake boxes and came accompanied by the most incredible guacamole I have ever tasted. Will need to make that a more permanent feature in my life. I think an entire tub of the stuff would just about do it!

Chef Michael Paul worked his magic mid-demo, explaining the components of each dish and leaving us drooling over his every word. 

The gorgeous Sato Maki consisted of sea bass, salmon, asparagus, marinated peppers, courgette and shiitake mushroom and we were all but ready to reach out and grab them until the blow torch was produced and flames got involved. Not just for show however, the caramelised smokey flavour created from the torching gave the sushi that extra edge which has catapulted Chotto Matte to the forefront of London's Nikkei restaurant scene.

Cuatro Uvas cocktails were made from pisco, sake, elderflower, lime and celery bitters and garnished with red grapes and some expressive hands of head barman Fabiano Latham.

My winner of the evening was the aubergine nigri, topped with den miso and flamed to create a mouthful of chargrilled sweetness. I'll be having me a whole plate of those please!

Teriyaki chicken skewers with spicy mayo were handed around between pisco hits and gave us a teaser as to what we can expect from the grill upstairs. Not to be missed that's for sure!

The sneaky among us slipped away from the pisco shaking, ice-saw wielding cocktail creators at the bar and were given a cheeky tour through the hustle and bustle of excited diners and teriyaki aromas in the main restaurant upstairs.

The place was full to the brim with mates on dates, dates on dates and everyone enjoying their sushi, ceviche and meat from the open grill. Even as I write, I'm wondering why I haven't booked a table already.. straight onto the to-do list I think.

The incredible exposed Robata grill had movable tiers to regulate how much heat reached the smokey Nikkei barbecued meat and I found the whole thing captivating. I was also a little distracted by this rather delightful chap ... just look at that smile! 

Ceviche and soft shell crab sushi were plated up on the long sushi bar and were instantly whisked off to their tables. The colours of the dishes were insanely tempting and it was a good thing my camera was clutched in my hands because those fingers might not have been able to help themselves!  Everything was a hive of activity and the buzz was completely infectious.

Watching chefs at work is a (not so) guilty pleasure of mine, so I was in my absolute element at Chotto Matte with such a variety of open bars to oggle at. The intensity and concentration of the sushi masters was captivating and their attention to detail was unwavering. We were also given a whistle stop trip through the main kitchen, which although fascinating, was probably incredibly irritating for all the chefs who were busy enough as it was without having extra bodies getting in the way! Thank you for being so patient Chotto Matte chefs!

All I can do now is to implore you to grab a date (after a meal here, a second one shouldn't be far off) or book a table for you and your mates because this is food to be experienced and shared. I certainly can't wait to hop back Soho way and relive the fun all over again!

Thanks must go to everyone at Zomato and Chotto Matte for this fabulous treat and to all the lovely writers and bloggers who made the experience that extra bit special.

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1 comment :

  1. I was sad to miss it, it looks fab and I love that place!
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London