Nikkei Flavors: An izakaya bringing us the exotic flavors of Japanese-Peruvian cuisine, TokyoLima is the latest effort from Manuel Palacio and Christian Talpo, who are behind the wildly successful Italian joint Pirata and Spanish restaurant The Optimist. The restaurant takes inspiration from Nikkei cuisine and its century-long cooking traditions, which originated from the first Japanese settlers in South America.
Look & Feel: Located in an unassuming commercial building, TokyoLima is a beautifully decorated space with an intimate feel. Stepping in, you’ll find an inviting bar decked out with wood and earthy tones and a dimly lit, spacious dining area. On our visit the place is buzzing thanks to a glamorous crowd.
On the Menu: The menu is divided into different sections with small plates (good for sharing), raw and seared dishes, offerings from a sushi bar, antichuchos Peruvian street food skewers, and finally hearty seafoods and meats. There’s an omakase menu for $480 per person — not at all bad value. Take your pick from two dozen sakes, including a smooth, rich Taiko ($580/bottle).
Service: Servers are friendly and happy to offer suggestions on what to order, which is especially helpful when there’s so much to choose from.
Jeng: Whet your appetite with excellent small bites like the maguro and avocado makis ($140/eight pieces), made with tuna, avocado, yellow pickle and rocoto chili mayo and the “ki-mo-chi” fried chicken ($110), prepared karaage-style and complete with spicy soy sauce. The picanha skewer ($140) with grilled rump steak, edamame puree and pickled cucumber, bursting with umami flavors, is a must-try. The lobster acevichada ($360) is another outstanding dish. The grilled meat retains an airy, delicate flavor, complemented by chili butter. Start the evening with a sweet, light cocktail like the Tokyo Affair ($90), made with prosecco, acai liquor, lychee juice, and cherry blossom — then go to town with the sake selection.
Not So Jeng: One of our cocktails took some 30 minutes to arrive, though it should be noted that the restaurant is only a couple of evenings into operation on our visit. A bathroom is also currently under construction, so for the time being guests have to make do with a not particularly pleasant one located upstairs.
Great For: Group outings, dining family-style — so you can try a little bit of everything.
FYI: Not content with opening one of the hottest new restaurants in town, Palacio and Talpo are soon to add an Italian pasta bar, Pici, to their name.
This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.