Restaurant review: Bamboo Mat- Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine in east London
Bamboo Mat is the perfect spot for a date night or midweek neighbourhood hangout with delicious food and drink and great service.
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Another foodie trend on the rise is “nikkei cuisine”.
It’s a Japanese-Peruvian fusion style of cooking that emerged between the late 19th century and World War II, a period which saw thousands of Japanese people work in Peruvian fields.
In London, a number of nikkei restaurants have popped up across the city; Bamboo Mat in Leyton, being one of them.
Located opposite Leyton Midland Overground station, the neon lit restaurant is run by chef Denis Gobjila and his business partner, Victor Rosca, who met working at Soho’s acclaimed Nikkei restaurant Chotto Matte.
Being an avid fan of Japanese food, this was my first nikkei dining experience so I was curious and excited to see what the menu had to offer.
Me and my enthusiastic dining companion were treated to an array of delicious starters of sea bass ceviche, padron peppers and hamachi tiradito.
The sea bass ceviche was bathed in tangy passion fruit and mango tiger’s milk, accompanied with red onion, cubes of sweet potato and chancha corn.
The hamachi tiradito was almost too pretty to eat, with slices of raw yellowtail kingfish arranged like a blossoming flower in a yuzu truffle soy dressing, dotted with aji amarillo and topped with chives.
Unlike our light and clean eating starters, our main courses were more carbohydrate and meat heavy (which was good as we were hungry).
We were served a generous plate of chicken teriyaki, glazed with teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds and a dish of ox cheek with yuzu potato puree.
Both dishes melted in the mouth and while we were starting to fill up, we discovered there was an array of sushi dishes coming our way.
We were treated to the crispy mozzarella maki, filled with salmon, mozzarella cheese and covered with unagi and spiced egg sauces and a layer of crisp onions, which was quite frankly one of the most delicious bites I’ve ever consumed.
Next up was the vulcano maki, which contained salmon, seabass, cucumber, asparagus, and avocado. This was blowtorched at the table theatrically by the waiter for added finesse.
Instead of dessert we opted to try Bamboo Mat’s signature yuzu blossom cocktail with roku gin, sake, yuzu juice and orange bitter, which was refreshing and delicious.
The service was quick and friendly and our waitresses enthusiasm and passion for the cuisine was infectious.
Bamboo Mat has also opened a second site in Stratford so east Londoners can get their nikkei fix from two different restaurants.
This is the perfect spot for a date night or midweek neighbourhood hangout with delicious food and drink and great service. Highly recommend.
Two Pisco Sours (£12 each) and two Yuzu Blossom cocktails (£15 each)
Sea bass ceviche (£11.50), Hamachi Tiradito (£13.40) and padron peppers (£5.50)
Chicken teriyaki (£11.50), Ox Cheek (£15), Crispy Mozzarella Maki (£13.60), Vulcano Maki (£17) and Salmon Aburi Nigiri (£7.10)
Total for two : £151.60
Bamboo Mat locations: 625 High Road Leyton, London E10 6RF and 21-24 Victory Parade, East Village, London E20 1FS