Pan Asian Plates & Punch at Tootoomoo Islington

20 Oct 2016

The busy St. Paul’s Road, packed with corner shops and stumbling Arsenal fans right around the corner from Highbury & Islington station, may seem like an unlikely place for culinary excellence, but what with Trullo, Prawn on the Lawn, LeCoq, and now, Tootoomoo, it’s a street not to overlook next time you’re hungry in Islington.

Previously a takeaway and delivery-only spot with numerous locations in North London (Crouch End, Whetstone and Highgate), Tootoomoo has newly launched a sit-down dining concept promising to serve “delicious, fresh and healthy food packed with flavours found in Asian street markets”.

Small and busy but far from cramped on the Thursday night we stopped by for dinner at 7.30pm, the wooden furniture with mosaic tiles, candles, dim lighting, vibrant chatter and the friendly décor of the colourful Asian “shophouse” style restaurant gave Tootoomoo an instantly relaxing vibe.

Executive Chef Ricky Pang serves up an Asian tapas menu that mixes Thai, Malaysian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Japanese cuisines, meaning there’s something for every taste.

After sipping on cocktails with an Asian twist – the Chilli Caipirinha, £7, is one not to miss, throwing an element of spice on the classic cachaca, fresh lime, sugar and crushed ice drink – we tucked into the Asian sharing plates.

We kicked things off with the melt-in-your-mouth and perfectly meaty Chicken Gyoza with black rice vinaigrette (£4), simple and fresh Mixed Sushi rolls (£5.50) and a deliciously-flavoured Seaweed Salad (£5.50). – a dish not to miss that, despite its small size, seemed to go on forever.

For the main event, we moved on to the Lemongrass Chicken (£6) and Tiger Prawn Thai Green Curry (£6.50) served with rice, already full to the brim but enjoying the flavour combinations too much not to eat every bite. Packed with spices and hints of citrus, the dishes are easy to finish.

Somehow we found room for the fresh and creamy Frozen Yoghurts, opting for Oreo and Pistachio (£3.50 each bowl). The yoghurt is a slightly less guilty end to a relatively healthy and very fresh meal, and would be worth a visit alone.

Cocktail menu aside, Tootoomoo has a simple wine list, Asian beers and soft drinks on offer. We paired our meal with the French IGP Pays d’oc Domaine Grauzan Sauvignon Blanc, £5.50 for a glass which was simple and refreshing to go with the mixture of flavours in our dishes.

Even though only one (very friendly) waiter was manning the tables – someone had called in sick, he made sure to let us know as soon as we arrived, apologizing in advance for any delays – the food came quickly and everyone around us seemed pleased with the service.

 Left slightly too full but more than satisfied, for a local like me, Tootoomoo is about to become my regular.

It operates on walk-ins only, and once word gets out about the reasonably priced, perfectly prepared and fantastically flavoured dishes, inventive cocktails and charming neighbourhood vibe, you’ll need to get there early to ensure your spot for the perfect chilled out first date or a catch up over cocktails with the girls.

But for the nights you’re feeling a little lazy, luckily, they’ll still deliver – cocktails included.

Alison

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