Let’s not beat about the bush. Soho is packed to the rafters with interesting places to eat. From sociable street food to Michelin starred gastronomy, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Of course, this makes it tricky for culinary hot-spots in the locale to stand out, which makes Temakinho all the more intriguing.
A new Brazilian sushi bar, Temakinho opened a few months ago and has been whipping up a storm ever since. Tucked away towards the end of Old Compton Street, step inside and you’ll find yourself on the first floor of a two-storey restaurant and cocktail bar, that serves sharp fusion food up in a buzzy atmosphere.
There’s plenty of colour and an expected hint of ‘South American party bar’ about it, but Temakinho remains spacious and civilised. Once you’re settled, warm up with a punchy Caipirinha (Temakinho’s use the best Brazilian cachaças, sugar, lime and fresh fruit pulp) and prepare to work your way through a generous sushi menu. It offers everything from signature Brazilian cream cheese stuffed maki, to zesty ceviches and fresh, tightly-packed Temakis.
The concept of a Brazilian sushi bar might sound a little strange, but believe it or not, Brazil’s the biggest consumer of the stuff outside Japan. Thanks to a flurry of Japanese migrants in the early 1900s, modern Brazil hosts a Japanese community of over 1.5 million people. To owner Linda Maroli, exporting the cuisine into Europe (as she has done with restaurants in Milan, Rome and Ibiza) was a natural leap.
‘Brazil injected Japanese cuisine with the sensuality and sense of joy that it was missing; adding the avocado, the mango, bananas and delicious sauces. Today, people are more open to experimenting with new tastes – less attached to the traditional and more inclined to try unusual mixes.’
It really works, and the Soho restaurant’s new winter menu proves it. Filled with suitably hearty dishes, expect a selection of new petiscos (Brazilian nibbles and snacks) including Pastel do Dia, an empanada filled with tomato, turmeric and fish, and Roll Saboroso; with black rice, asparagus, kanpyo, chicory, roasted aubergine and Japanese yuzu. The Lula Baiana soup is a must-try winter warmer too, made with shrimps, coconut milk, cashew nuts, coriander and lime.
Fun flavours aside, there’s a serious element to Temakinho too. It was the first restaurant group to be awarded the Friends of the Sea certification, ensuring that all its seafood is responsibly and sustainably sourced. ‘Today, people pay more attention to quality, sustainability and to following a healthy diet’, says Maroli. ‘As always, we’re concentrating on the quality of our food, the happiness of our employees and those that dine with us.’
So, if you’re looking for a hot spot in Soho that’s sophisticated, thoughtful and tremendous fun this week, Temakinho’s a sure-fire winner.