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 with my friends! Chotto Matte has two branches in London – one in Soho and one in Marylebone. We picked the former to visit on this occasion.
Chotto Matte Soho spans two floors with the ground floor being the reception and bar, then the first floor housing the dining area. Walking into the restaurant, it immediately hits you with a snazzy vibe. It was still early in the evening when I arrived at the restaurant but it 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. However, as the evening went on, the lights were further dimmed and the music got a lot louder.
Chotto Matte London: A Nikkei Fusion of Japanese-Peruvian Cuisines
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 in 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.
Chicken, lamb, and beef (except the wagyu) are halal at Chotto Matte Soho. But please note that pork and alcohol are served at the restaurant. Some sauces may contain alcohol so do make the staff aware of your halal dietary requirements and they will offer you a non-alcoholic version/substitute.
The Food: What We Ordered
Set menus are available but we decided to go a la carte.
Date of visit: December 2020
Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice
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
Next up, when at a Peruvian restaurant, ceviche is a must, right? Carefully sliced sea bass sashimi was 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 embraced the soft sea bass slices well. However, 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 a little pinch of spice to cut through the tarty flavours of the dish.
Nikkei Jalea Mixta (Mixed Tempura)
Mixed tempura of wild prawn, baby squid & cauliflower. Unfortunately, we felt 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, but the food item itself didn’t taste much. Even though I’m a huge seafood lover, the cauliflower ended up as my favourite among the three. Both the prawn and squid really lacked seasoning and freshness. Overall, it just wasn’t the sort of quality I expected from a restaurant calibre like Chotto Matte.
Black Cod Aji Miso
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)
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.
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
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
Last but not least, we got the dessert platter where you get to pick your own dessert picks from the menu to share. We picked Matcha Waffles, Chocolate Brownies, and Chocolate Fondant. My friends have arranged for them to set up a sparkling candle for my birthday on this occasion as well.
The Matcha Waffles came with a scoop of green tea ice cream and were accompanied by a baked cheesecake mousse. We enjoyed the tangy touch from the mousse against the rich but not-too-sweet matcha flavours. It was further enhanced with a slice of caramelised pineapple for extra tarty sweetness.
As for the chocolate brownie, it 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 is more cake-like instead. It’s not bad but it’s not a winner either.
Finally, the chocolate fondant. It came nestled nicely over chocolate soil with a scoop of Biscoff ice cream, fresh mango, and mint cress. Whilst the flavours were decent, it didn’t have the gooey runny centre I was hoping for. The Biscoff flavour was also quite light on the ice cream which I almost couldn’t tell.
Restaurant Review Summary
Frankly, the food at Chotto Matte London didn’t necessarily blow our minds. Some dishes were good (e.g. the black cod), but some felt underwhelming and were easily forgettable. As such, we felt it was slightly overpriced for what it is. In terms of the overall dining experience, it had been decent thanks to the excellent service and helpful & friendly staff. However, the music got louder as the night went on – too loud to our liking and just slightly resembling a nightclub feel. Additionally, I’m personally never a fan of overly-dimmed lighting so the further dimmed lights weren’t ideal either. Let’s just say it was enjoyable yet a mixed experience to end this post.
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