FOOD REVIEW: Chotto Matte, Soho

Chotto Matte is the kind of restaurant that’s busy no matter what the day and it’s easy to see why. The restaurant, based on the corner of Frith and Bateman St in the heart of Soho, is a fantastic example of Nikkei cuisine (that is, the blend of Japanese and Peruvian food which was developed over a century ago) done well thanks to the incredible Nikkei Boys duo, executive chef Jordan Sclare and Michael Paul in the kitchen.

It’s a slick place set over two floors – the ground floor plays host to their always thriving cocktail bar and a more casual dining area complete with a manga-style wall mural, whilst upstairs a polished restaurant. We went along one Friday lunch where it was already packed out with diners well into the weekend swing of things. We were treated to a round of cocktails to start our weekend proceedings – a deliciously fruity Flor de Manzana (mango vodka, sake, apple, lime, passion fruit and elderflower) and a satisfyingly good Lychee Pincante (Calle 23 Blanco tequila, lychee, lemon, chilli syrup and egg white).

We began with a bowl of Padron Peppers covered in an addictively more-ish miso sauce and the Seabass Ceviche (sea bass sashimi, sweet potato, Peruvian corn, coriander, chive oil, citrus sauce) which was nothing short of outstanding. The chef then brought out the deliciously fresh Nikkei Sepia – calamari to you and me – and the Tentáculos de pulpo – an unusual Peruvian dish with succulent octopus on a bed of purple potato. We also had helpings of the Ojo de Costilla (beef rib eye, lentil panca, chives) and Nikkei sashimi (sea bass, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, coriander, yuzu truffle soy) both of which we’d highly recommend. We’d also urge you to go for the Bacalao negro aji miso – the black cod with yellow chili miso – ours was simply heavenly. Finally out came the Sake Dragon Roll made up of thick cuts of fresh salmon wrapped in rice and topped with perfectly ripened avocado – quite the meal in itself! We passed on desserts on this occasion – purely because we were close to bursting at the seams – and instead finished off our drinks for a sweet end to an epic lunch.

Chotto Matte had it all to offer: great food, a lively atmosphere and some delicious drinks. So the bottom line? If you’re looking for a good time in Soho, Chotto Matte should be your first and only point of call, it won’t let you down.

11 – 13 Frith Street, London, W1D 4RB | www.chotto-matte.com

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FOOD REVIEW: Shackfuyu, Soho

It opened in February last year as a pop-up and had all of London’s foodies raving. After an extensive refurb, it returned in December as a permanent fixture in Soho’s never ceasing to amaze dining scene. Shackfuyu is the latest creation from the team behind Bone Daddies in Soho and Flesh & Bones in Covent Garden – but you probably already know that. What you might not know is that Shackfuyu serves up ‘Yoshoku food’ – a Japanese take on Western cuisine – and it does it rather well. Of course, we already knew it was going to be good, but felt the need to investigate further just to make sure…

For a Sunday evening, the place was buzzing. There were enough bums on seats to keep the atmosphere lively and the Sunday blues at bay. We managed to secure the ideal spot at the back, absolute perfection for people watching (although we were rather taken by the seats at the marble counter bar). We kept things relatively tame on the drinks front (it’d been a long festive week) opting for a deliciously zesty Frozen Yuzu Maragarita (tequila, yuzu & lime juice, agave syrup and orange liqueur) and an Asahi Black before switching to the soft stuff for the rest of the meal. But if you go and decide you want to go all out – Shackfuyu’s got quite the banging drinks list.

Now to the food. Where to begin? It’s best you go hungry and with someone that likes to share (and if they like everything you do –  you’re onto a winner! If they don’t… whip them into shape!). The menu is full of small plates all designed to mix and match. The first of our glorious food parade to arrive was the devilishly good Korean fried wings – sticky, messy, spicy and oh so wonderful – they’re a no brainer in our opinion. Another no brainer if you catch it on the special menu: the individual hand dived roasted scallop. Beautifully done and served swimming in a chilli miso butter. Arriving next was the Wagyu beef tartar served with peppered prawn crackers, topped off with a yolk hat, just waiting to burst and pour itself over the beef. Next up were the satisfyingly more-ish Tako tacos (octopus, shiso avocado, gochujang), satisfyingly more-ish and from the selection of larger plates, the Grilled partridge with chilli ponzu. The final dish to arrive was the sukiyaki style wagyu picanha, served in a Korean hotpot that bubbled away in front of our eyes. Truly delicious and set us off into a truly stuffed slump.

Of course, when the only dessert on the menu was one of the most talked about of 2015, we weren’t going to refuse. The Kinako French toast with matcha ice cream had all of London hooked and it was easy to see (and taste) why. Whilst yes, it was a little bizarre to eat an indulgent breakfast dish for dessert it was surprisingly light and disappeared from the plate all too easily. Get it – even if you’re full. You’ll only regret it if you don’t.

14A Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TJ | www.bonedaddies.com/shackfuyu

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COMING SOON: Kanada-Ya announces launch for second site

Japanese ramen restaurant Kanada-Ya is set to launch its second site on Monday, 30th November at 3 Panton Street in Soho. The opening will be preceded by a Soft Launch period from Thursday, 26th November till Sunday, 29th November which will offer diners 50% off the food bill if they sign up to the soft launch mailer on Kanada-Ya’s website (which you can do here).

The new site will offer the same selection of ramen alongside some new additions such as chicken karaage and korokke. There will also be an extended drinks menu with the introduction of bottled cocktails, Japanese craft beer, rare Japanese Whiskeys and a wider wine selection.

The restaurant – which will be open for lunch and dinner – will be sleeker in its interior design approach and will seat up to 56 covers over 2 floors (ground and basement) with two bookable tables for larger groups of 6. And for the very first time, you’ll be able to make bookings for these through a dedicated WhatsApp profile.

With the winter chill fast approaching, we can’t think of anything better than slurping some warming bowls of ramen, can you?

www.kanada-ya.com | 3 Panton Street, SW1Y 4DL | twitter: @KanadaYa_LDN | instagram: @Kanada_Ya_LDN

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