Whenever I miss my family, there’s one thing I crave for: sukiyaki.
There was a Japanese restaurant we frequented so much growing up. It was my father’s favourite place and my mother would roll her eyes on occasion pretending the predictability annoyed her (although secretly I’m sure she loved the special treatment she got from staff – I think we all did). They had the best sukiyaki in town and I would always, always, always be filled to the brim with bowls of the lot, and belly laughs with my fam.
Unforch, London is not particularly a place for out-of-this-world Japanese food and sukiyaki is not something you’d commonly find in menus.
So when Y mentioned Tokimeite has sukiyaki, I HAD TO.
Just around the corner from Regent Street and a few hops away from Sketch
, Tokimeite takes over the spot where Sakura used to be. It’s the baby of seven-Michelin-starred Kyoto chef Yoshiihiro Murata (though he doesn’t cook here) and acclaimed designer Yasumichi Morata. The menu reflects traditional Jap cuisine with a nod to Wagyu beef whilst the space, set on three floors, has a cool elegance reflecting fire, wood and water.
I’ve had a few issues with restaurant service lately
so I was keeping my fingers crossed for a bit of luck this time. Luckily we had a rather nice server (though at times overly enthusiastic and slightly sales-y) who took care of us. He said Tokimeite meant “lust” whereas everywhere else says “anticipation” (ie butterflies in your stomach) which I thought was cute.
But let’s get on with food.
We ordered the karaage (£10) as soon as we saw a Japanese guest from a neighbouring table nod – with closed eyes – his appreciation. The coating was delicious and the chicken was juicy. A bit on the salty side, but tolerable with a squeeze of lemon/lime juice.
The sashimi goshu (£22) is a very attractive bento of sashimi. There are five types – scallop, seabass, salmon, yellowtail, tuna – all of which were very fresh and of prime cuts. The sweetness of each fish pulled through and one can’t help but wish to have more magically on the plate. I could seriously have this all as a starter and eat more.
Salmon sashimi is usually boring for me, but my goodness this was outstanding.
I have to say this was one of the finest tuna sashimi I’ve had in town (probs second best to Dinings in Marylebone
). It was a slice of chutoro
(medium fatty tuna) which was rather fresh and melt-in-your-mouth. You don’t need soy sauce to enhance the umami taste.
The soft-shell crab roll (£14) was quite nice with a generous portion of crab meat. The salmon roe was quite a nice touch as it gave a nice texture and bursts of umami.
We ordered a glass of Chateau d’Astros Rosé each (£9) whilst the highlight of the night was being set up. One can’t ignore the Wagyu offering, and as it’s been a while since I’ve had sukiyaki, we just had to get the Wagyu sukiyaki (£45). I can’t tell you how excited I was for this dish.
Tokimeite’s sukiyaki is a glamorised version, with the Wagyu cut aiming to grab the spotlight and the fine shavings of truffle its sidekick. Served with watercress, a truffle mayo cream and a whole lot of onions, it’s definitely not traditional.
The broth is thick and intensely sweet – and it called for some carbs. Normally I have my sukiyaki with konnyaku noodles but they didn’t have it and suggested rice instead. The flavour was definitely bold but I like my sukiyaki with cleaner flavours. Not to say it wasn’t good because it was – but it wasn’t what I expected. Did it take me back to my childhood? A little bit, but I missed the abundance of veg like sprouts, Chinese cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, etc. Will I order it again? Yes, I think so.
That beef tho. You have to be very careful to not overcook it. But yes, that beef. *insert lovestruck emoji*
I liked Tokimeite. It’s nice to find a place to go to for sukiyaki. Portions aren’t for the hungry but rest assured you’re paying for quality here. Service is decent and the ambience is fantastic – it’s the type of place you’d have dainty dindins with a girl friend or four, or a place you can take a first date to. I’m raring to go back to try more dishes. It definitely was a good first impression.
23 Conduit St, London W1S
Ave spend pp: £60 a la carte. Set menus are £25 for lunch and £55/£75 for dinner.