Picture this: it’s Saturday night and your group of friends can’t decide where they want to go for dinner. One wants healthy options, another vegetarian, your boyfriend fancies grabbing some sushi, but your best friend prefers Vietnamese and, on top of all this, you need some gluten free dishes. You might as well just give up and stay in, right? Wrong – Tootoomoo has you covered. The menu at this North London eatery (there’s four in total) covers all these bases and more, offering a vast array of Pan Asian cuisine encompassing fresh ingredients and dishes from China, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand. I was sold…
The menu is comprised of smaller plates – gaily called ‘Tootootapas’ – so you can mix and match; if you want some sushi alongside a bit of Thai Green Curry, your wish is their command. My weekend lunchtime visit coincided with their bottomless brunch, in which diners can enjoy as much food and drink as they like in either a 1.5 or 2 hour period, depending on how much you wish to pay (the 2 hour option is £5 extra); the clock starts once your first dish arrives at the table and they also give you a heads-up for final orders at 70 minutes. However, if you wish to take things a bit slower or visit at a different time, their a la carte menu is identical.
After avoiding sushi since I became gluten-free due to the dreaded soy sauce, I was overjoyed to see there were some gf options of this here, so I promptly ordered some Kappa Sushi Maki (aka cucumber rolls). There were four in total, and came with gluten-free soy sauce for dipping – the filling was packed to bursting out the seaweed skins, and definitely worth my wait. The Crispy Smoked Chicken came in little strips and was utterly addictive; they were the perfect size to pop in your mouth in one bite and the chilli salt incorporated in their breaded coating provided just the right touch of piquancy. Because tapas-style dishes usually involve one or two small pieces of the item you’re ordering, I was pleasantly surprised by the large serving of the Grilled Satay Chicken Skewer, which comprised three large skewers of deliciously seasoned, succulent meat. Protein-ed out, we ordered the Green ‘Yasai’ Salad which, including radish, tomato, carrot, lettuce and beetroot, was bursting with colour, fresh flavours and the perfect touch of zing thanks to its ginger dressing (I was so taken that I ordered a second plate of it).
For our larger plates, the vegetable pad thai offered a delectable contrast of slightly sweet honey noddles and glazed tofu alongside a hearty scattering of peanuts, while the Tiger Prawn Lemongrass provided a spicy kick with its red curry paste base. Despite being called bigger, they are still of a size that, if you only had one tapas to start or went straight into these, you could easily enjoy a couple each.
Despite being clearly marked up on the menu, the staff at Tootoomoo are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable when it comes to their gluten free dishes. In fact, our waiter assured me that not only do they use separate friers/cookers and preparation areas for their gf food, but a specific chef in each of their kitchens is in charge of cooking these dishes in order to fully prevent any cross-contamination. Plus, if an item that takes your fancy isn’t marked as gluten free on the menu, you can discuss with your waiter as to whether it’s possible to adapt it to be so, either using gf soy sauce or having the chef slightly tweak the ingredients – they’re very flexible and do their best to accommodate. Impressed? You bet I was – and I guarantee you will be, too.