in a nut shell
Tootoomoo wants to bring the punchy flavours of Asian street food to a restaurant setting – this time to a cosy and colourful new site on St Pauls Road in Islington, north London.
Executive chef Ricky Pang has gone on a culinary tour of Asia and cherry picked the best bits to deliver a busy, varied menu that references everywhere from Vietnam to Japan, taking in Thailand, Malaysia and China along the way.
Expect to find many classics of Asian cuisine here, from miso soup and potsticker dumplings to rendang curry. These jostle with less typical creations like shichimi squid with Japanese pepper and sweet chilli or duck and watermelon salad with cashew and hoisin.
When it comes to liquid refreshments, alongside a straightforward selection of wines and the expected roster of Asian beer brands such as Singha, Tsingtao et al, Tootoomoo also offers a list of cocktails with an oriental twist – we particularly liked the caipirinhas, which can be flavoured with either lychee, mango, passion fruit, pineapple or chilli.
what’s the room like
The room is filled with colourful furniture and tables inlaid with pretty tiling patterns. It’s small and there’s a steady stream of loyal Tootoomoo fans picking up takeaways; but we’re sure that, with a crowd, the atmosphere is great.
menu must-orders and misfires
Dishes at Tootoomoo are simply presented but hugely enjoyable to eat. Our crispy smoked chicken with chilli salt and spicy mayonnaise was an umami dream (think grown-up chicken nuggets), while the playful popcorn shrimp with nori dust was addictively moreish, the saltiness of the shrimp pairing well with the subtle citrus tang of a yuzu-spiked mayonnaise.
Soft-shell crab tempura with shichimi salt and jalapeno mayonnaise was addictively crisp – the team know how to fry here. A vibrant seaweed salad with a black pepper and sesame dressing, though, was one of the best items on the menu.
Small plate dining, street food and pan-Asian flavours have been reasonably ubiquitous features of London’s dining scene in recent years, so what makes Tootoomoo special? You won’t find anything wildly experimental here but what you will discover is straightforward, effective cooking that makes an extra effort to deliver on flavour, at very reasonable prices.
Written by Hannah Guinness, October 2016
278 Paul’s Rd
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