Chotto Matte has been on my radar ever since they started to offer halal options without needing to pre-order beforehand. Its specialism in Japanese-Peruvian fusion is a huge draw to me as I find the concept very intriguing and I’ve also always been especially curious about Peruvian cuisine. I’ve been saving it for an occasion and the opportunity came – a belated birthday dinner for me at the end of December with my friends!
The restaurant spans two floors, the ground floor being the reception and bar, and the first floor houses the dining area. Walking in, it immediately hits you with a snazzy vibe. It was still early when I arrived at the restaurant but it’s already got a vibrant energy buzzing in the air. After the staff kindly took my jacket into the cloakroom, I was led to our table upstairs. It was originally quite quiet, with silent views overlooking the streets of Soho and a striking colourful graffiti-design wall dramatically sitting against the fine-dining atmosphere.
Chotto Matte: Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei
What do Japanese and Peruvian cuisines share in common? A deep appreciation for fresh fish and seasonal ingredients. The likes of sushi and sashimi are the staples of Japanese cuisine, whereas ceviche is the equivalent of that to Peruvian cuisine. A fusion of the two is known as “Nikkei”, an eccentric but vibrant combination of not just Japanese and Peruvian ingredients but also techniques and culinary traditions.
The interior was modern and snazzy. It’s already quite dim but they further dimmed the lights down so it’s pretty dark in there during dinner service. Apologies in advance for the poor quality of the photos!
The Food: What We Ordered
Chicken, lamb, and beef (except the wagyu) are halal. Pork and alcohol are served at the restaurant. Some sauces may contain alcohol so do let the staff be aware and they can offer a non-alcoholic version/substitute.
Set menus are available but we decided to go a la carte. Here is what we ordered:
Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice (£18.25)
To start, we had the Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice from the “a little something” section of the menu. The crispy rice is essentially similar to sushi but the rice has been lightly fried to a golden crispy exterior. It’s only a rather mild spice, but just enough to add a subtle kick to the buttery tuna tartare. Flavour-wise it’s good but we find the sticky rice quite literally sticky to the teeth – whilst not a dealbreaker, it wasn’t most ideal. Each portion comes in 5 pieces.
Sea Bass Ceviche (£14.50)
Next up, when at a Peruvian restaurant, ceviche is a must, right? Carefully sliced sea bass sashimi were marinated in a traditional leche de tigre, drizzled with chive oil and topped with sweet potato, Peruvian corn, and coriander. I really enjoyed the sauce, which was lusciously tangy and embraces that soft sea bass slices well. Though I wouldn’t mind an extra savoury and piquant touch from it to give it an extra oomph. Personally, I think I would’ve liked it more with a little more seasoning on the sea bass and have a little pinch of spice to cut through the tarty flavours of the dish.
Nikkei Jalea Mixta (Mixed Tempura) (£17.50)
Mixed tempura of wild prawn, baby squid & cauliflower. Unfortunately, we feel these were rather underseasoned and plain. Neither a squeeze of lime nor a side of dipping sauce helped much. The tempura coating was very light and airy, but the food inside just didn’t taste of much. Even though I’m a huge seafood lover, it was the cauliflower that ended up as my favourite among the three. Both the prawn and squid just lacked seasoning and that natural savoury flavour of fresh seafood. Overall, it just wasn’t the sort of quality that I would have expected from a restaurant calibre like Chotto Matte.
Black Cod Aji Miso (£37.50)
If there’s a must-order at Chotto Matte, it’s got to be the black cod. This little slice of fish is definitely a showstopper. Glazed with a chilli miso marinade, yuzu, and topped with chives, even non-seafood lovers are going to fall in love with it. The black cod was perfectly silky to taste – almost satin-like as it slipped into the mouth – and just beautiful flavours all around that’ll keep you wanting more.
Chuleta de Cordero Ahumada (Lamb Chops) (£9.75 per piece)
Another popular dish on the menu is definitely the lamb chops, glazed with Peruvian chilli miso and coriander. The meat was generally well-marinated and tender. I especially enjoyed the glaze which is tinged with a lovely touch of sweetness. What’s missing though is a charred crust and a little smokiness to the meat. Again, it’s good but missing an oomph.
Arroz Chaufa (£8.75)
For a side dish, we were recommended with this egg fried rice with Peruvian vegetables and spicy sesame soy (vegan option is also available). Whilst nothing incredibly special, it certainly has its uniqueness. It tasted like a crossover between spicy rice and egg fried rice, with a little bit of robustness laced with Asian sesame fragrant. Despite it says spicy, again, it’s rather mild and more just of a very slight tingle to the palate.
Prawn Tempura Sushi Roll (£14.50)
We also ordered the Prawn Tempura Sushi Roll, filled with crispy tempura prawn, asparagus, and Peruvian chilli. However, similarly to the tempura above, the flavours were on the plain end. Nothing really stood out from this sushi roll. Overall, it was okay but a rather easily forgettable dish for the night.
Chotto Matte Dessert Platter (£27.50)
Last but not least, we got the dessert platter to share. We went with the Matcha Waffles, Chocolate Brownies, and the Chocolate Fondant.
The Matcha Waffles comes with a scoop of green tea ice cream, both rich in matcha flavours and not too sweet at all. It comes with a baked cheesecake mousse, which offered a lovely tangy touch against the matcha flavours, and a slice of caramelised pineapple for a little tarty sweetness.
The chocolate brownie was an interesting one. They come drizzled with strawberry coulis and a scoop of coconut sorbet. Oddly, every bite of the brownies seemed to deliver a different flavour but, generally, it was berry-like. It’s definitely not a typical fudgy brownie and more cake-like instead. It’s not bad but it’s not a winner either.
Finally, the chocolate fondant – nestled nicely over chocolate soil with a scoop of Biscoff ice cream, fresh mango, and mint cress. It’s decent but didn’t have the gooey runny centre I was hoping for. The Biscoff flavour was also quite light on the ice cream.
Restaurant Review Summary
The food didn’t necessarily blow our minds. Some dishes were good, but some felt underwhelming and were easily forgettable. All in all, our dinner at Chotto Matte had been a decent experience. The service was good and the staff were very friendly and helpful. However, the music got louder as the night went on – a bit too loud to my liking and just very slightly resembled a nightclub feel. Personally, I’m never a fan of overly-dimmed lighting so the further dimmed lights weren’t to my liking either, but that’s subjective. It’s a little bit pricey for what it is as we haven’t been particularly impressed with the dishes (except the black cod) per se. Nonetheless, it’s still been an enjoyable evening and I had a good time celebrating my (late) birthday with my friends!
Chicken, beef (except the wagyu), and lamb are halal. Pork and alcohol are served at the restaurant. Recommend making the staff aware so that they can also swap out any sauces that may contain alcohol.
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road