Posted on Monday, 13th March 2017
Tootoomoo offers a Pan-Asian Tapas-style menu designed by Chef Ricky Pang. The restaurant appears to have more of a reputation as a takeaway; however, the Islington branch was well located (a few minutes from Highbury & Islington station) and reasonably popular on the weekday evening we visited. As the menu covers key dishes from different parts of Asia, we were eager to order dishes across the breadth of the menu.
The drinks list was not extensive but covered a handful of classic cocktails, wine, beer and spirits selection enough to cover most tastes. To begin with we were offered cocktails (all priced at £7.50) and we chose the Elderflower Tootoomoo and a Lychee Caipirinha. Both were served as long drinks in glass jars. They were refreshing, quite sweet but balanced. We could not taste the lychee in the caipirinha and wonder if it was missed by accident.
The food menu is divided into Tootootapas, Signatures, Plates and Sides. Here we decided to focus on the Tapas and Plates. First up was the crispy smoked chicken (£4.95). It was cleanly fried, and extremely moreish: flavoured with chili salt and a spicy mayo for dipping. This was different to any of the typical fried chicken dishes we have tried in the past and we would highly recommend it!
The chicken gyoza (£4.50) came in a thin pastry, and were well filled and nicely cooked, and accompanied by a black rice vinaigrette and tangy vegetables which worked well with the gyozas. In comparison, the soft shell crab sushi maki (£6.50) was tasty enough but not the best maki we have had- with nothing memorable to recommend it.
The hamachi sashimi (£6.95) was well presented. It was fresh and flavourful and served with some kizami wasabi (chopped wasabi – and the best way we can describe it was that it was a wasabi salsa).
The popcorn rock shrimp (£7.95) had fluffy, thick tempura batter, and had been served as a small mountain of popcorn. This was another moreish dish with the nori dust and yuzu mayo providing a refreshing citrus twist. Our only criticism is that the dish would sit better in the Tapas portion of the menu as the portion size did not match the expected larger size of the Plates section.
We expected the duck and watermelon salad (£7.95) to be along the lines of a Thai papaya salad. Instead, this salad was a lot meatier. Seasoned with hoisin sauce, it resembled a deconstructed Peking duck pancake with chunks of watermelon hiding at the bottom. Although it was pleasant enough, we couldn’t help feeling that something fresh and zingy would have better complemented the richness of the duck.
The stir fry pad Thai noodles with chicken (£7.50) was well presented. There was a healthy amount of chicken in the dish. Again, this was a pleasant dish overall but not memorable. It had most of the right components (e.g. tamarind, fish sauce, etc.) but there wasn’t the full harmony of flavours that you’d expect from this dish.
We finished our meal with a mixed berries frozen yoghurt (£3.75). The mixed berries component was more akin to a sauce, and although it was tasty and tangy, we felt the yoghurt would have been nicer with fresh fruit.
Tootoomoo worked well for a quick bite given its well positioned location and casual setting. It lends itself as a convenient takeaway spot, supported by the queue of people we passed as we left, waiting to pick up their suppers. We took our six month old baby girl along on this adventure so it’s worth commenting on the child friendliness of this venue. As we have one of the tiniest buggies on the market, we could squeeze in fairly comfortably for our meal. However, given the size and facilities of the restaurant, it is not the most baby friendly venue (but survivable for a quick dinner and a small buggy).
We noticed, like many London venues, Tootoomoo also offers bottomless brunch option of unlimited drinks and food for 1.5 or 2 hours (priced at £35/£45 per person accordingly or £30/£40 with unlimited food only).
Note: A guest post by O&M – husband and wife brought together through their mutual and growing appreciation of food and travel. Their conversations revolve mostly around food and their trips abroad include walking itineraries to as many food venues as they can fit in. In their spare time they are slowly eating their way through London and the World before their metabolism takes notice.
1) Crispy Smoked Chicken
2) Popcorn Rock Shrimp
1) Popcorn Rock Shrimp was more of a Tapas portion than Plates
Food rating: 3/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Prices: The Discovery Menu for £39 includes three Tootootapas and three dishes from Plates to share between 2-3 people (excludes drinks and dessert).