Food & Drink

Chotto Matte: South meets East as the Japanese-Peruvian restaurant arrives in Marylebone

Escape the never-ending rows of traffic outside Baker Street station, and take a left down Marylebone to Chotto Matte – a Japanese-Peruvian infusion of flavours that’ll leave you wanting more.

Couples and groups of friends sit together, marvelling at the beautifully decorated food on beautifully decorated platters.

In the evenings the room is dark, lit only by the amusing, mushroom shaped lamps that are switched on when you begin your meal. 

Your waiter will start you on drinks such as the Ikigai cocktail or the Alateo before suggesting dishes from the menu. I was unprepared for the rollercoaster of food coming my way. 

First was sweet Spanish Padron peppers- kissed by the grill long enough to wrinkle but short enough to avoid charring and smothered in delicious den miso butter. I could eat this sauce- a combination of mirin, sake, miso and sugar – with a spoon. 

Start your Chotto Matte adventure in style with Spanish Padron peppers. Image: Thomas Patterson

The menu is split into three cooking sections: sushi, robata and sautée. The waiters will help you through the eating order. You start with cold, light dishes, and build up to a more filling, hotter dish and end with sushi.

Your plates are swept away as soon as they empty and the next dish arrives as you finish, so it is advised that you take your time and eat little by little. Wait a bit or as they say in Japanese, chotto matte

Five beautifully presented wagyu beef gyoza replace the empty padron plate, their tips dipped into a pool of warm, deep teriyaki veal jus in the middle. Unlike most gyoza the meat was pulled rather than minced which left a pleasant texture accompanied by a lightly crisp gyoza shell. The chefs have their sauces spot on here. They turned a relatively common dumpling into an elevated mouthful. 

Wagyu beef gyoza. Image: Thomas Patterson

Combining sashimi with ceviche will bring you silky wild sea bass gently bathed in a classic leche de tigre or ‘tigers milk’ which is used to cure the fish as it shares a bowl. The dish adds soft cubed sweet potato, crunchy, toasted peruvian corn, coriander stem and chive oil to finish. The burst of fresh, citrussy, delicate-tasting bass will leave you fishing for more as you drink the bright yellow milk down to its last drop.

Of the many dishes you can try (o-toro, Tentáculos de Pulpo, Crispy duck with ponzu) you simply must order one, perhaps two rounds of Argentinian red prawn truffle.

Hot from the kitchen, buttery, textural and as utterly delicious as it gets. I can only describe it as a piping hot, deliciously moreish arancini ball. The combination of truffled shiitake mushrooms and chopped spring onions is a simple idea but huge in flavour. Do not share this dish.

Coconut Sakura will pleasantly end your Chotto Matte experience. Image: Thomas Patterson

Finish your night by tucking into a coconut sakura for dessert. A deliously thin wafer coats a refreshing coconut sorbet and topped with freshly grated cherries. Smash it to pieces and tuck in before leaving Chotto Matte satisfied and happy.

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