The Peruvian-Japanese culinary experience I had at Chotto Matte in London was actually an unintentional, yet very satisfying experience. My friends and I met up for a drink at Bar Américain, before deciding that we wanted to have some Japanese food for dinner. Being locals, one of our friends said that she knew of a place that we would like. However, on our way over walking through Soho, the facade of Chotto Matte sparked our curiosity enough to stop and check out their menu. And how lucky were we that it happened to be a Japanese fusion restaurant with a great aeesthetic! With a sidewalk cafe full of people, giant glass windows on two floors that let you see the sushi bar from across the street, and an inviting color scheme, we had a good feeling about this place.
The five of us walked in and we were immediately seated upstairs at a round table near the window. The restaurant seemed to be fairly busy for a Monday night. The server immediately greeted us and offered to take a drink order, as well as explained the menu. A few things such as the bacalao and pork belly caught our eyes right away, so we made sure to put that on our list of things to try, along with a decently priced bottle of Sancerre. Service was pretty consistent and the dishes came out at a good pace. And to be quite honest, there wasn’t a dish that we didn’t like! Here’s what was on the menu for us that night:
- Gambas Japonesas- prawn tempura with 3 dipping sauces
- Bacalao negro aji miso- black cod with yellow chili miso
- Barriguita de chanchito- pork belly, nashi pear, yellow tomato salsa, Peruvian chili
- Turbot tiradito- Turbot sashimi, coriander, black sea salt, lemon and lime juice
- Tentaculos de pulpo-octopus tentacles, yuzu, purple potato, Peruvian chili
- Squid sashimi and a spicy tuna roll with cucumber
You’ll have to forgive me though, that I don’t remember what the desserts we had are called! I know that one is a chocolate cake of some sort but the other, well I’ll have to update you on that.
Overall the atmosphere was trendy, without being overbearing. It was rather inviting and the color palate lent some warmth to the space, with a contrast of “street art” style paintings on the wall. Oddly, we noticed that for some reason the paint on our table changed colors from body heat, which of course we managed to occupy ourselves for a good five minutes making hand marks on it. On the lower level where the restrooms are located, is a really cool painting that gives a nice pop of color to the darkness. And I do have to admit that if you like House Music as much as I do, then the playlist will definitely add to your experience!
As someone who has worked in the restaurant industry for going on 16 years now, (10 of which have been in upscale Japanese and sushi restaurants) I tend to be overly critical when I’m at another “trendy” sushi place. To be honest, restaurant industry folks can be over critical in general because we understand what goes into the whole “experience” of dining out. But I have to say, this place was very enjoyable for my friends and I. It was traditional where it needed to be and “fused” in the right ways with Peruvian flare. Good friends, good food, good times, with more to come! Until then, cheers!