A Unique Experience
Created back in 2013 and celebrating the best of authentic and innovative cuisine, Chotto Matte restaurants are set in stylish and contemporary architectural spaces, in the world’s most inspirational cities. Here, RLI spends some time with Founder and Owner Kurt Zdesar to learn more about the journey the company has been on and how the concept continues to evolve and push the boundaries of the restaurant scene.
Offering a dining setting unlike anything else on the market, Chotto Matte displays urban flair and avant-garde design features to deliver an unforgettable ambience that is both vibrant and electric. From the theatrics of the sushi counter and flaming robata grill, to live entertainment and DJs, the concept offers visitors a wholly immersive experience that will stay with them long after the meal finishes.
“Over the last ten years, the journey with Chotto Matte has been an exhilarating one,” explains Kurt Zdesar, Founder and Owner. “We began with a vision of a restaurant experience that brought art, music, design and fashion together under one roof whilst showcasing the evolution of Nikkei cuisine, which has developed over the past century century through the influence of Japanese migrants who creatively incorporated local ingredients into their culinary traditions.”
Over the years, the menu has been refined; the business has expanded its presence and continuously strived to offer a unique and memorable dining experience that pays homage to this rich culinary history.
When first starting out, Kurt highlights that they faced the challenge of introducing a completely new concept rooted in the evolution of Nikkei cuisine to the market. He goes onto say that adapting their cuisine to local tastes, building brand recognition and gaining the trust of customers were all initial hurdles that they overcame through relentless dedication, creativity and listening closely to customer’s feedback.
The five locations that they operate to date are Soho and Marylebone sites in London, UK, Miami Beach in Florida, US, Toronto in Canada and the recently opened Doha site in Qatar. These sites were chosen because they are strategically located to introduce the Chotto Matte concept to diverse and vibrant dining scenes in global gateway cities.
Looking forward, Kurt highlights the exciting pipeline they have in-store, most notably the San Francisco rooftop restaurant which they almost finished and that is set to open its doors to the public on 21 October, offering a breathtaking dining experience and panoramic views of the city.
“Following this opening, we are eagerly awaiting the openings of our Riyadh, Saudi Arabia location in mid-2024, Philadelphia, US later in 2024 and Manchester, UK in 2025. If everything goes to plan, we look forward to further showcasing our dedication to offering a unique and exquisite dining experience rooted in the evolution of Nikkei cuisine.”
Even with global expansion on the horizon, the business continues to constantly explore the possibility of new markets and regions where the Chotto Matte concept could thrive, as Kurt mentions that while their focus is on Riyadh at present, they are very much open to the possibility of expanding further in the future to bring their experience to more food enthusiasts than ever before.
Designed as an immersive offering, the company has always had its customer’s needs and wants front and centre. With this in mind, their approach to customer engagement revolves around providing a personalised experience. They take the time to understand the local markets and their conversations with our customers help them refine their offerings. Additionally, the special events they offer from time to time are aimed at keeping their patrons excited and engaged.
As the topic moves onto social media and sustainability, Kurt comments that they fully embrace the power of social media in today’s world and that is it a vital tool for sharing their electric atmosphere, showcasing their Nikkei-inspired dishes and connecting with their community, which they do through actively engaging with their followers on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to keep them informed and involved.
“Sustainability is another key area for us. We are committed to responsible sourcing of ingredients, reducing food waste and minimising our environmental impact. Our sustainability initiatives include efforts to reduce single-use plastic and support local, eco-friendly suppliers.”
The success the company has seen since its launch can be attributed to its innovative take on Nikkei cuisine, commitment to delivering a unique concept experience and their ability to adapt to changing customer preferences. Zdesar also says they have been fortunate to have a passionate team that is dedicated to the vision of the business.
“From the quality of our produce to our bespoke interiors, unique art walls and even our crockery, which is handmade by artisans I have met on my travels around the world. Every layer of Chotto Matte has been refined to reflect our unique vision as we deliver a multi-sensory experience that pays meticulous attention to detail,” says Zdesar.
As our time with Kurt begins to run short, we ask him what challenges lie ahead. He feels that as the concept continues to expand and evolve, they anticipate challenges related to maintaining consistency across locations, staying ahead of the culinary trends and effectively managing our global presence. He goes onto say that they are excited about these challenges and instead view them as opportunities for growth.
“Finally I’d like to express our gratitude to our loyal guests for their ongoing support and feedback. Chotto Matte’s journey would not be possible without them and we look forward to continuing to innovate and delight our patrons in the years to come.”