Date of review: February 9, 2017 | Reviewed by: Wilson Fok
Tokyolima is located within a commercial building on Wyndham Street, and the sliding door of the unmarked entrance leads you into the windowless restaurant. What the establishment lacks in view is replaced with stylish design; starting with the earth-toned bar with soft, dim lighting, which weaves into the eclectic restaurant area with its open kitchen surrounded by seats.
Brass chandeliers with soft lighting give the space a comfortable, homely mood. Guests going in a party of four or upwards should request the larger, well-spaced tables scattered across the room, which are equipped with plush seating.
Tokyolima brings Nikkei cuisine to Central with notable influences from South American and Japanese cuisine—a style seen previously with the likes of Djapa, Nobu, and El Mercado. The restaurant features a spectacular array of small plates to start, from ceviches to sushi rolls and hot appetisers on small plates, to larger meaty mains. The selection is impressive, with a number of vegetarian options available.
We began with ceviche Nipon, where cubed seafood is marinated in a citrus soy dressing with bell pepper chunks, which offer sweetness and texture. The lomo saltado ‘el taco’ features three miniature tacos. Contrary to their description as ‘soft tacos’, the tortillas are crisp and generously filled with strips of beef well dressed with herbaceous chimichurri sauce. The ki-mo-chi fried chicken comes with a mayonnaise-based dipping sauce made with rocoto chillies, a spicy but aromatic chilli native to Peru. Made in Japanese kara-age style with a thin coating, pieces of chicken thigh are deep-fried until golden brown, and are particularly welcoming as a treat to enjoy with cocktails.
Guests who fancy sushi can enjoy maki rolls with a house twist. The futomaki is a vegetarian option with cabbage, pickled beets, avocado, popped quinoa and miso mayonnaise served on the side. The vegetarian roll is slightly on the sweet side enjoyed as it is, but more balanced with the miso to balance its sweetness from the vegetables.
Mains are large enough for sharing, and baby back ribs showcase two sizable racks, sweetly glazed and served alongside kale and tomato salad, which is rather ill-fitted as it is neither Peruvian nor Japanese, but the crisp lightness of the kale offsets the richness of the meat dish. Desserts are mostly fruit-based with one signature chocolate dessert on offer. The calamansi pie is served with a white chocolate ice cream, but the calamansi filling is rather sweet on its own and not tart enough to cut through the richness of the ice cream and meringue topping.
Like Pirata and The Optimist, Tokyolima’s wine list, or more appropriately, beverage list is an abundant display of the mixology team’s creativity. Sakes are available by the glass or bottle, and the same goes for the limited wine selection. Cocktails are the obvious choices but some combinations of flavours may be rather unseemly.
The restaurant’s signature Melting Maiko fuses rum with matcha powder, lime juice, and coconut milk. The tropical creamy coconut somehow makes the drink a heavier one with a cloying sweetness that lingers. The El Piscolero, however, is a popular winner. The tall cocktail is floral with a touch of St. Germain, mixing with pisco and lime juice. Adding ginger beer adds zingy and sweetness to the chilled cocktail, which complements the array of starters and fried items.
Service at Tokyolima is personal and friendly, as the staff offer sound knowledge and suggestions for food and drink offerings, complete with portion control for guests.
Guests can expect attentive service staff who are keen and helpful, especially sending assurance when dishes require extended waiting time.
A dinner for two including one cocktail each sums up to HK$1,100. The new restaurant lives up to its opening buzz with quality food offerings with an abundant beverage selection for a jolly good pastime