A Casual Approach to Nikkei Cuisine
District: Central, Hong Kong
Cuisine: Nikkei cuisine
How much: Mains range between $120-360
Best for: Date night, after work drinks or a fun group meal in the private dining area.
Must order: Portobello & Nasu sticks; T3 Salad
From the creative minds behind the Optimist and Pirata; Tokyolima is the group’s newest venture. Meals here are a sensual fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cooking, inviting diners to sample the delights of Nikkei cuisine.
Stepping through the large wooden door, I was instantly transported to the heart of Japan’s dining scene in this beautifully created Izakaya. Low lighting, a spacious interior and eclectic decor provide the backdrop to an intimate dining experience that ensures you feel miles from the bustling streets of Central Hong Kong. Working in an open kitchen, Peruvian chef Arturo Mendez can be seen cooking up the flavours that he describes as ”complex and punchy, yet still delicate and refined.”
And he’s not wrong. With a varied menu that includes ”small plates” and “sticks,” this is a great place to sample a wide range of dishes. Each one arrived, perfectly presented, looking even more delicious than the last. I immediately fell in love with the Portobello & Nasu sticks ($80) and the Picanha Rump Steak ($140). The portobello mushrooms were marinated to perfection and oozing with flavour. Sliding from the skewer they all but melted in my mouth. Each portion is served with three sticks and I wished we’d ordered more than one for the table! It was the same with the steak. I could have easily had this all to myself – the meat was tender and lean, and tasted simply divine.
One of my favourite dishes was certainly the T3 salad ($120) served with Pumpkin, quails egg, confit tomato, fennel, crispy glass noodles and topped with Nikkei dressing. Each bite aims to offer an array of textures and it can’t be faulted on flavour. As someone who aims to maintain a reasonably healthy diet, I genuinely felt like I’d treated myself to a delicious dinner without the need to run an extra 5k the following day. This dinner was a win-win, and a huge tick for Tokylima.
I was also impressed with the wide range of vegetarian options. Kabocha and Choclo ($90) combines Japanese squash and Peruvian corn with a whole host of intriguing ingredients that once again fuse these two cultures together in a luscious dish you’ll be reluctant to share.
I’m never one to say no to a cocktail (a healthy diets require balance after all!) and the bespoke drinks menu offered up new and interesting combinations that meant I couldn’t help but sample a few. Tokyo Affair was my favourite; combining Prosecco, lychee juice and cherry blossoms. Sweet, fruity and pink, it comes served with a flower clipped to the glass; I couldn’t have asked for more in a drink.
As I left the electric atmosphere of Tokyolima, the tables were crowded and buzzing with people. This definitely feels like the place to be right now, either for a quick drink after work or a hot and steamy date night. I’m already planning my next visit.
For a taster of Chef Arturo’s favourites, the ‘Omakase Menu’ is ideal for groups and priced at $480 per person.
TokyoLima, Car Po Commercial Building, G/F, 18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, www.tokyolima.hk