On Friday I got invited to a Soho restaurant called Chotto Matte. They serve a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian food. Sound a bit strange? Well there is a huge settlement of Japanese in Peru (Peru has the second largest Japanese population in South America). In the 1800s a large number of Japanese moved over to Peru, enticed by the promise of work on the land. After their initial contracts ended, many stayed on and opened restaurants catering to the local Peruvians. This created an odd hybrid of Japanese cooking methods and Peruvian ingredients, now known as Nikkei style.
Nikkei restaurants are a relatively new concept in Europe.
Chotto Matte is a huge restaurant, spread over three floors with a bar, sushi station and indoor barbecue. The staff are all very enthusiastic and eager to please, always jumping in with helpful suggestions should you get confused by the unfamiliar items on the menu.
The restaurant invests a lot to energy in training; a far cry from my waitressing days, where the main job requirement was willingness to work for the lowest wage possible. Of the many jobs I’ve done waitressing was one of the worse ones, which is why I’m always super-nice to the wait staff.
(BTW, this restaurant doesn’t fit into my theme of cheap London; this is not somewhere to visit on a tight budget. Dinner without drinks starts at around £25).