Hattie Lloyd 21/06/23

Bamboo Mat

If you’re in the mood for great sushi, first you need a Bamboo Mat.

You can then embark on a complex odyssey learning to roll maki by hand… or, if you’re a Leyton local, just pop down to the high road and have the pros do it for you. Because this Bamboo Mat is a superb Japanese-Peruvian restaurant that serves high-end food in low-key surroundings.

Let’s take a little time to unpack those two surprising-sounding combinations. The connection between Japan and Peru dates back to the late 19th century, when Japanese people migrated in their thousands to find new work – and one of the most fruitful products of this union was Nikkei cuisine: dishes combining Japanese culinary techniques with local Peruvian ingredients. As for that second combination: Bamboo Mat is a passion project from chef-owner Denis Gobjila (ex-Chotto Matte) and Victor Rosca (ex-Sushisamba). Together they create a dining experience here that’s every bit as special as these glitzy restaurants, but with a decidedly neighbourhood feel – and it’s a formula that obviously works, as they’ve just opened a second branch in Stratford.

The new wave of Peruvian restaurants in London seems to have an affinity for graffiti and UV (just take a look at Chotto Matte and Señor Ceviche), and you’ll find that here at Bamboo Mat too, where the kitchen is framed by a hand-painted fluorescent mural. It gives the place a buzzy, urban feel although the nautical touches on the walls, and the huge bifold doors drawn back to fill the room with a summer breeze, are more in keeping with the neighbourhood vibe.

bamboo mat ceviche

The star dish, without question, is the sea bass ceviche, a Nikkei classic and executed with love and care here. Tender slivers of raw sea bass are dotted across a vivid orange pool of tiger’s milk, alongside hunks of sweet potato, red onion and crunchy chancha corn. The trick, we’re told, is to artfully scoop a little bit of everything with each spoonful – and the result is an amazingly flavourful and balanced dish.

Everything that follows lives up to this opening act: delicately seared slices of salmon tataki (topped with crunchy shreds of spring roll pastry); meltingly soft ox cheek on a bed of yuzu potato purée; and the satisfying crunch of baby gem in the spicy tuna maki. There’s a whole section of maki, in fact, and adventurous types can push the boat out with tempura battered salmon & mozzarella maki, or the rolls of fried nobashi shrimp & cream cheese.

bamboo mat

There’s only one dessert, but who needs choice when it turns out to be a perfectly pitched zippy yuzu cheesecake? But if that’s not for you, cap off the evening with one of their Pisco Sours instead.

Ironically, it won’t leave you with a sour taste…


NOTE: Bamboo Mat Leyton is open Tuesday – Sunday. You can find out more, and book a table for either branch HERE.

Bamboo Mat Leyton | 625 High Road, Leyton, London E10 6RF

Love sushi? Check out our favourite sushi restaurants in London

Bamboo Mat

625 High Road, Leyton, E10 6RF

0208 539 0076

8.2 | Great