Most locals – and foodie East Londoners alike – will now be aware of Bamboo Mat, a unique arrival in the neighbourhood.
When it opened back in the summer it swiftly picked up rave reviews by Grace Dent in the Guardian and Time Out (disclaimer: that one was written by yours truly).
Its Nikkei menu – the cuisine that fuses Japanese recipes with Peruvian ingredients such as lime, corn and chilli – has been created by chefs Denis Gobjila and Victor Rosca, who met working at one of the capital’s only other Nikkei restaurants, Chotto Matte.
There’s a lot to explore, whether it’s ceviche, tiradito (sashimi in a citrus sauce) and maki rolls, or lamb chops, salmon teriyaki and grilled wagyu.
My tips on the general menu include sea bass ceviche in a vivid orange tiger’s milk, sliced chargrilled octopus, and a generous portion of chicken teriyaki – which is a bargain at only £11 (read more on this here).
The exciting news if you’ve been a few times is that there are some new dishes launching this weekend (November 18th).
Pictured above is chutoro (fatty tuna) tiradito with a hit of pickled wasabi, textural pleasure upped by sprinkles of crunchy harumaki (a kind of fried pastry) skin. The zingy sauce is a sesame ponzu.
And scroll right up for a fiery salmon picante (main pic), the flesh marinated for a couple of hours in sake and soy, and rolled with pickled cucumber, topped with aji amarillo (fruity pepper) and umami-packed smoked mentaiko (pollock roe) mayonnaise. A pool of soy mayo adds contrasting creaminess.
You can also level up your vitamin intake with some new plant-based dishes, such as a side of chargrilled broccoli with sweet soy, sesame oil and crispy onion (below). And carnivores will warm to a meaty ox cheek with potato puree and teriyaki sauce (also pictured above).
Finally, the big news is that Bamboo Mat has proved such a hit with locals that a second East London branch is opening a mile or so away in East Village.
Launching on December 16th, this new restaurant will boast 84 covers, a long open kitchen and a private dining room for special events. The architecturally designed interior is by Sebastian Salas, inspired by the Peruvian arts and crafts he grew up with.
You saw it here first: these guys really are taking over our corner of East London with their unique combinations of Japanese-Peruvian flavours.
Bamboo Mat is at 625 High Rd Leyton E10, open daily except Mondays. Find out more on their website here. Follow @_bamboomat to keep an eye on the Stratford East Village oppening.