Japanese fine dining in London – Glass visits Tokimeite

Japanese fine dining in London – Glass enjoys the culinary treasures of seven-Michelin-star chef Yoshihiro Murata at Tokimeite

WALK into Tokimeite and you’d be forgiven for believing you’d somehow, magically, been transported directly to Japan. “Irasshaimase” the maitre d’ says politely while your eyes adjust to the light of the pretty, chandelier-decked bar. And sitting at it? Groups of well-dressed Japanese people of course – certainly a good omen.

Our coats and bags quickly stowed away, we were ushered upstairs to a quiet corner table. Cocktails first; the Okinawa Old Fashioned sung with the sweetness of freshly scraped vanilla while the Yellow Bloody Mary incorporated the careful simplicity that Japanese cuisine is so renowned for.

Now to the food, and this was a difficult choice because surely everything that multiple-Michelin-star-awarded Yoshihiro Murata puts on his menu is going to be outstanding. So, to start, we opted for the classic chicken karaage, which was easily the best we’d ever tasted, and the picturesque marinated mackerel layered with ribbons of pale-green fennel.

Delicate tempura at TokimeiteDelicate tempura at Tokimeite

We didn’t want to miss the tempura – it being such a favourite of ours when in Japan – and the tempura selection with prawns, mushrooms, potato and plenty more didn’t disappoint. It was light and crisp, just as it should be, without any of the weight or oiliness that so often comes with deep frying.

Sashimi at TokimeiteSashimi at Tokimeite

To follow this, we chose the seven-piece sashimi set. The ornate treasure box it arrived in was opened at our table to reveal a magical plume of smoke and, as it rose and dissipated, a collection of colourful sashimi as vibrant and beguiling as jewels. The toro – fatty tuna – was like butter, while the silver-pink prawns and creamy scallops were impossibly sweet.

The marinated mackerel at TokimeiteThe marinated mackerel at Tokimeite

One of the restaurant’s starring dishes completed our meal – the wagyu sukiyaki – a dish of soft, pink beef and generous coins of black truffle that comes to a boil at your table. A number of the diners around us had also opted to enjoy this dish, and it’s easy to understand why: the ingredients are the epitome of luxury, and they come together so beautifully in front of your eyes.

After such a spectacle, dessert may easily have gone unobserved. The matcha panna cotta, however, was so prettily presented and uniquely delicious that we couldn’t help but remember it just as fondly as we had the glimmering, treasure-like sashimi and the comforting, salubrious sukiyaki. So, I suppose, my suspicion was correct – not one thing on Murata’s menu could disappoint.

by Becky Zanker

Tokimeite 23 Conduit St, London W1S 2XS. Tel: 020 3826 4411

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Glass Online dining and culture writer

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