When Chotto Matte opened its doors in 2013, its dark rooms – illuminated by neon lights and prismatic cocktails and with a soundtrack of thumping music – made it the perfect fit for the party-hungry atmosphere of London’s Soho. But it managed to distinguish itself from the rest of the neighbourhood’s nondescript watering holes by maintaining an air of refinement and, most notably, serving some of the best Nikkei cuisine in the city. 

Since then, the chain has expanded to Toronto, Miami, Nashville, San Francisco and, now, it is looking to London once again with a new Marylebone edition. 

Dish served at Nikkei restaurant
BBQ yuzu salmon fillet

The new restaurant is designed to be a more relaxed version of its Soho counterpart, with snug booths and mellow lighting to encourage intimate conversations among small groups. Yet thankfully, the restaurant’s signature Nikkei offerings remain the same, with a few exciting new additions. 

Nikkei is a blend of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine born of the mass migration of Japanese immigrants to Peru in the late 19th century. It was first popularised in the United States in the 1990s, with the opening of Nobu, which Chotto Matte’s founder Kurt Zdesar is credited with bringing to Europe. For Chotto Matte, Zdesar has taken what he learned during his time at Nobu and translated it into a slightly looser atmosphere with food that still packs a punch. 

Dish served at Nikkei restaurant
Pato crujiente con salsa peruana with crispy duck, honey orange ponzu, jalapeño.

Menu standouts include BBQ yuzu salmon fillet with pomegranate, sharon fruit, sesame seeds, teriyaki jus; black cod aji miso with chilli miso marinade, yuzu, chives; and wild sea bass ceviche of wild sea bass sashimi, leche de tigre, chive oil, sweet potato, Peruvian corn, and coriander. 

For vegetarian dishes, try BBQ broccoli in Peruvian huacatay, or creamy black mint sauce; lychee ceviche; or a nasu miso of aubergine, miso, apricot, puffed soba, and sesame seeds. Desserts include flavour explosions such as a magical chocolate ball made from dulce de leche treacle cake, black sesame ice cream, red berry dust, white sesame sauce; and a passion fruit crème brûlée made from sake-poached pineapple, pineapple granite, and dulce de leche. 

Kintsugi cocktail
Kintsugi cocktail with Maker’s Mark bourbon, Jim Beam Rye whisky, Amontillado sherry, teriyaki, quinoa, pink peppercorn, and Peychaud’s bitters

The new Marylebone opening also sees the debut of the Tokyo to Lima cocktail menu, which features ten new drinks, including the Evening Prayer, a blend of gin, vodka, white vermouth, mirin, umeshu, and orange bitters; and the umami-flavoured El Cartel with tequila, campari, umeshu, Amaro Montenegro, pimento dram, and kombu. §