East London Food & Culture

Bamboo Mat

Bamboo Mat: new interior and outstanding new spring menu

The Leyton restaurant specialising in Peruvian-Japanese cuisine has a raft of new treats in store this spring

Most locals – and foodie Londoners alike – will be aware of Bamboo Mat, a unique arrival in a part of the neighbourhood that’s fast changing.

When it opened back in summer 2022 it swiftly picked up rave reviews by both Time Out and Leyton celeb Grace Dent in the Guardian.

Bamboo Mat
Refreshed interior: Bamboo Mat. Photos: Stephen Emms

Its Nikkei menu – the cuisine that fuses Japanese recipes with Peruvian ingredients such as lime, corn and chilli – is created by chefs Denis Gobjila and Victor Rosca, who met working at one of the capital’s only other Nikkei restaurants, Chotto Matte.

And there’s a thrilling range of flavours to explore, whether it’s ceviche, tiradito (sashimi in a citrus sauce) and maki rolls, or lamb chops, salmon teriyaki and grilled wagyu.


Bamboo Mat
Bamboo Mat: rebooted. Photos: Stephen Emms

Having just celebrated their second birthday, both the venue and menu have had a light refresh: the interior has enjoyed a gentle rethink with a stylish new bottle green velvet banquette along one wall (pictured above), along with Japanese-style wood panelling and a watery Peruvian-influenced seascape on the opposite wall.

The effect is a calm, tranquil space to ponder the unique creations from the open kitchen, itself adorned with colourful street art, where chefs move about with choreographed precision.

Bamboo Mat
Cevicho ‘clasico’ at Bamboo Mat. Photo: Stephen Emms

On a chilly Friday lunchtime we took a deep dive into the new menu. Ceviche has been a must-order here from day one, and a fresh take – christened ‘clasico’  – is, says manager Dimitri, “90%” closer to how it should taste in Peru,” the sharp spicy tang of tiger’s milk (lime with chillies, onions and coriander) offset by sweet potato cubes, the crunch of toasted chancha corn – and the just-opaque quality of the sea bass.

Another new item is tostadita (below), smeared with salsa verde then piled high with delicate pink cubes of salmon, artichoke or ruby-red tuna with yuzu mayo and glistening fish roe.

Bamboo Mat
Tuna tostadita: Bamboo Mat. Photo: SE

Also now permanent on the menu are gyoza (see below), big juicy prawns in handmade dumplings lightly fried, while a stand-out addition is a fabulous take on the maki roll (bottom pic): stuffed with crisp hot shrimp tempura and topped with slices of ruby-red blue-fin tuna, in a light acevichado sauce (tiger’s milk mixed with mayonnaise), it’s luxurious, moreish and somehow healthy at the same time.

Bamboo Mat
Gyoza: Bamboo Mat. Photo: SE

Of the hot dishes, new additions include chicken teriyaki skewers, rosy sliced grilled picanha rump steak, lomo saltado (marinated strips of sirloin and red peppers) and a sensational lubina a la parrilla: this chargrilled fillet of sea bass (our main picture, top), its skin scorched, is topped with a peppery tomato-based salsa criolla on a verdant green mash, the plate winningly dotted with salsa verde. It’s a smash.

Bamboo Mat
Tuna-topped prawn maki: Bamboo Mat. Photo: SE

Desserts were previously not so much of a priority but now, says Dimitiri, a house special will change every week, whether that’s passionfruit macarons or chocolate mousse. There will also be additions to the kids’ menu, the idea being that families can enjoy the menu at weekends as well as couples on date night.

“We want Bamboo Mat to be a place where you can as easily stop for a beer and a snack  – say chicken karaage or edamame beans – as well as a full-on meal,” he says. So if you haven’t swung by for a while, think of Bamboo Mat 2.0 as both a casual bar and eating house, perhaps akin to a Japanese izakaya, rather than an occasional treat. Get down there and explore the new menu.

Best of all, every single diner over 18 can enjoy one free margarita cocktail per person per booking to celebrate the reopening (May 1st-7th, subject to a £30 pp spend, see T & Cs below).

Bamboo Mat is at 625 High Rd Leyton E10, open daily except Mondays. The lunch menu starts at £12 for a bento box; on the a la carte starters are from £3.50, mains from £11 (tuna tostada 2pcs £8, lubina a la parrilla £14.5, picanha steak 250g £28, acevichado maki £17); ask about the tasting menu with wine pairing too. Find out more on their website here. Follow @_bamboomatleyton.

Ts & Cs: One margarita per person per booking May 1st – 7th . Minimum spend £30 per person. NB restaurant closed on Mondays.

This is a sponsored post in association with Bamboo Mat. If you’re a North or East London business wanting to access tens of thousands of Londoners across our north and east London newsletters, websites and social media network, please email info@leytonstoner.london or info@londonbelongstome.com

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