The owners of London’s award-winning pop-up restaurant Tata Eatery have announced that they will open a shop dedicated to their most famous dish, the katsu sando — which debuted in Kensal Rise a year ago — this summer. As first reported by Hot Dinners, Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng will open Tóu in “central London” this summer. It comes off the back of the duo’s recent permanent residency at Tayēr and Elementary, a new innovative cocktail bar, on Old Street in east London.
It has now been confirmed that Tóu will debut at Centre Point, in the inaugural ‘Loft’ space at Arcade Food Theatre. Eater understands that Meng will remain in the kitchen at Tayēr and Elementary, while Gonçalves will take the lead at the new site later this summer.
An announcement describes Tóu as “the couple’s first sando-focused base in central London. It will be a sando shop that curates unique, flavoursome sandwiches by sourcing the finest ingredients possible and, in doing so, will reflect the solid relationships they have formed with their suppliers over the years.”
Tóu will open from midday to midnight and serve the trademark Iberico pork katsu — a dish which uses the most meltingly tender, rich pork, panko-crusted and sandwiched between lightly toasted brioche, with sliced cabbage, raspberry brown sauce, and a base note of umami-rich chilli, shallots, fermented red pepper paste — the menu will also feature rice bowls, “paying heed to where it all began and options will be limited to 4-5 to help their on-the-go customers make efficient choices,” they say.
Gonçalves will introduce a few new additions to the sando family, “drawing from new and classical influences — each will carry its own flavour identity, created with the intent of changing people’s perspective on what they can expect between two slices of bread.” One will be the “eggy tofu,” pictured above.
The duo are also planning to partner with “some incredible” clothing brands and artists to launch Tóu.
TaTa, which means “he and she,” first started as a street food stall on Druid Street market in Bermondsey, piquing the interest of chef James Knappett who invited the duo to collaborate at his Fitzrovia restaurant, Kitchen Table in 2016. Pop-ups at The Newman Arms pub in Fitzrovia followed, before a long-term residency at Curio Cabal on Kingsland Road, between Shoreditch and Dalston. That closed in August 2017. The brand then launched at Borough Wines in Kensal Rise last summer, and after a slow start, rocketed to prominence in food circles.
The duo were responsible for some of the most innovative, brilliant, and delicious food in the city for that period, and although the sandwich drew the crowds, other dishes were as accomplished: the likes of a buttery, soothing yuzu kosho and curried prawn rice pot; an anchovy flatbread with seaweed; and a salad of spinach, sugar cane, sesame, and tomato demonstrated outstanding skill and understanding of texture and flavour.
Last November, the duo then moved into the Sir Colin Cambell pub in Kilburn, a residency which ended at the beginning of the year.
The food is a part fusion of Meng and Gonçalves’ Chinese and Portuguese heritage, and has always featured a menu focused on rice dishes, fresh, often raw, seafood, Iberian and Cornish meat, and fermented ingredients. Although the brand’s output has been referred to as “Chinese-Portuguese cuisine” in the past, the two wish for it not to be described in those terms. Instead, they now refer to the food as “East meets West.”
Both previously worked under London’s most celebrated Portuguese chef, Nuno Mendes at his restaurants Viajante (now-closed) and celeb favourite Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone.