Showcasing inventive cooking methods and original flavours, Chef Arturo Melendez from Tokyolima has us impressed with the food at Tokyolima
From meat-free restaurant POP Vegan to modern Indian kitchen Chaiwala, Hong Kong has got an enormous selection of gorgeous new restaurants opening every week. With the influence of ingredients from Japan, Tokyolima aims to bring innovative Japanese-inspired Peruvian food to the table. And what we discovered at Tokyolima was: a truly unique dining concept with exceptional cocktails, delicious food and a bespoke ambience.
Our experience at Tokyolima
Cool concept; elegant ambience
Tokyolima is an interesting concept rooted in he idea of izakaya style dining – a quintessential Japanese experience, which has been gaining popularity worldwide. We love the dark yet casual vibe in Tokyolima, filled with the sounds of conversation and laughter that echoes through a typical izakaya establishment.
We started off our experience with expertly-crafted cocktails at the lounge. Nebulous and ethereal, smoke has been bewitching our palates for hundreds of years and its primitive appeal keeps getting stronger, as was the case with the Smoking Gun. This flavourful concoction is a blend of lapsong tea-infused Bulldog gin, Campari, chocolate bitters and Yzaguirre red vermouth, and tasted as good as it looked Tokyo Affair was another drink that had a lingering aroma as it’s a sweet and fruity mixture of prosecco, acai liquor, lychee juice and cherry blossom. To us, Tokyolima has nailed it as a warm and comfy spot to enjoy decadent cocktails with friends.
With such great drinks, it’s needless to say that the food had to match up to the high standards that Tokyolima had set, and it sure did. The menu is arranged into sections of small plates, raw & seared items, sticks, Nikkei sushi and larger plates.
Arousing our appetites in an extremely unique manner was the la causa. Typically a traditional Peruvian potato terrine, Chef Melendez layers beetroot, prawn tartare, rocoto garlic and charred avocado and tops it with a lightly battered prawn tail tempura. We mixed it all up and enjoyed the rich flavour in every bite.
We hear that a trip to Tokyolima is incomplete without ordering the ceviche classic – a classic Nikkei dish, which combines seabass marinated in tiger’s milk with Peruvian choclo corn that’s garnished with onion and coriander. The marinade was mild and we thoroughly enjoyed the crunch from the choclo which added just the right amount of texture and saltiness to the dish.
Another fresh take by Chef Melendez which blew us away was his maguro Nuevo, a Nikkei interpretation of sushi using Peruvian spices. It’s a must-try as we loved the taste of the fresh tuna, avocado, sesame and tobiko in a fiery rocoto pepper mayo. The thinly sliced raw hamachi and maguro tuna was seasoned to perfection with a shoyu citrus and we just couldn’t stop going back for seconds (…and thirds… and fourths!) For the larger plates, we went for the grilled black cod, that was perfectly seared and topped with a citrus miso glaze.
Dishes can be enjoyed as a light bite with drinks or shared with a combination of smaller and larger plates. It’s easy to tell why we’re such huge fans of this concept as it lends itself to an awesome, laid-back ambience – which is just what we Hongkis need.
In five words?
Unexpected flavours yet comfortingly familiar
Tokyolima, G/F, Car Po Commercial Building, 18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong p. 2811 1152, 中環擺花街18-20號地舖
Looking for more dining options in the city? Enjoy an exotic brunch with The Fiasco at Carbone, try Japanese izakaya comfort food at To Autumn or check out the best vegetarian restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui.