Restaurant Review: Tokimeite, Mayfair in London
After being born and raised in Manila, which has a stellar collection of authentic Japanese restaurants in its own Little Tokyo neighbourhood, it’s been surprisingly difficult for me to find the same quality and consistency in London. Tokimeite in Mayfair offers traditional kaiseki cuisine specialising in high-grade Japanese wagyu. Sushi, sashimi, and tempura are some of the many dishes that are also on offer.
The restaurant is owned by Zen-Noh, the national federation of agricultural cooperatives in Japan. Assistant Manager Kenta Ishibashi told me that this was a key factor in ensuring Tokimeite used only the best products available. He took the time to show me and my guest a map of Japan and detailed where their meat and produce came from. He talked about how the topography affects the quality and taste of ingredients, something that is extremely evident in the different flavours of sake.
Tokimeite’s interiors are sleek and stylish with an open counter kitchen in the middle. Executive Chef Daisuke Hayashi, who trained under Michelin-starred Chef Yoshihiro Murata, had a vision to deliver an inventive take on seasonal authentic Japanese cuisine. He wanted to put a creative twist to traditional dishes whilst still maintaining the integrity of the ingredients.
We started our meal with a welcome sake that we were told had yuzu mixed in. It was clean and refreshing and an excellent way to begin the dinner. We were given a selection of the best items from the starters menu for us to taste: wagyu tartare, kaisou salad, and Scottish langoustine tempura. The wagyu tartare was served with a quail egg, ponzu, and aubergine sauce, which helped balance its richness.
The kaisou salad had a mix of local and Japanese seaweed with a punchy dressing of soy, Japanese plum, and shiso. I’m a big tempura snob and think that over-battered seafood is a sin. Tokimeite’s langoustine tempura is cooked perfectly with just the right amount of batter coating the delicate meat.
The main event came in the form of the beautiful Hida Gyu wagyu rib eye. It was served with shichimi (a seven-blend Japanese spice mixture), sea salt, white sesame, Japanese sansho pepper, and pink peppercorn. The meat was exquisite and melted in my mouth. I found myself savouring every last piece! Despite the meat being perfectly delicious on its own, the spices provided were great to play around with and gave different pops of flavour to the beef.
The meal ended with a colourful matcha panna cotta with berries, crumble, and an edible flower. Not particularly a fan of matcha, I found the panna cotta to be extremely well-made with a delightful mix of flavours and textures.
Tokimeite has a team that creates an authentic Japanese dining experience right in the heart of the capital. They do it with integrity, high technical ability, interesting flavour combinations, and some of the most tender wagyu steak you’ll find in London.
Address: 23 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XS
Phone: 020 3826 4411
Main image credit: Claire Menary