Looking rather inconspicuous on Mayfair’s Conduit Street, Tokimeitē at first glance looks closed from the outside, which then makes you think it’s one of those exclusive Mayfair hotspots. I quite liked that. As you step in through the front doors, that exclusive feel continues because it’s stunning inside. A large sushi counter to enjoy the masters at work, cosy booth style seating and a further counter seating area where all of the live cooking happens. The staff here are lovely too and immediately made us feel at home.
This creative Japanese restaurant specialises in high-grade Japanese wagyu and its goal is to promote the delicious (though rather expensive) Japanese beef to the UK. While this amazing meat is at the restaurants core, it doesn’t stop there. You can expect lots of sushi, sashimi, tempura and dishes that offer an innovative and seasonal approach to authentic Japanese dining. The Executive Chef is Daisuke Hayashi and we’ve only heard good things – especially as he’s been trained under Michelin-starred chef Yoshihiro Murata.
We ordered one of the Kyoto Bento Lunch Boxes which is priced at £35pp, but before any of that arrived we started with a portion of the restaurants home-made tofu which was without a doubt the best tofu I have ever eaten. It’s not something I go out of my way to order but this was really special. The texture was lovely and the small grating of lime zest on top really helped lift it to a new citrusy height. We paired it with a local London beer as they sadly sold out of their renowned Kome Beer.
Something I enjoy, but again don’t go out of my way to order is miso soup. It’s not that I don’t like it but I usually find myself wanting to fill up on other Japanese dishes instead. However, Tokimeitē’s miso soup was like the tofu – one of the best I’ve had. All of those savoury umami characteristics, with a rich and earthy selection of wild mushrooms packed in to it. The perfect Winter warmer.
A few minutes later as we slowly sipped the miso soup, our bento box arrived. Prawns, waygu beef, scallop tempura and a mixture of vegetarian Japanese items. We delved straight into the prawn which was served on a bed of rice and a chunk of grilled cured mackerel. I liked this dish, but the pink peppercorns which were in the rice I found were just a little too pungent and the flavour staying with me with each part of the bento box we ate.
By far the best dish on the bento box was the wagyu, rightfully so. It’s an extra £20pp to upgrade your bento box to include the meat which gets you 50g worth. It’s smokey, succulent and beautifully marbled. You can see why the restaurant specialises in the meat because they clearly know how to handle it well. If you don’t fancy spending money on the extra upgrade (though you should), you can in place still enjoy either sashimi sanshu, teriyaki salmon or a wagyu yamatoni hamburg steak.
The part of this meal I wasn’t particularly excited about was the selection of vegetarian and fish items. A Japanese omelette was well executed, but nothing I haven’t had better of before. The crispy fried potato with miso (I think) was the most disappointing of them all and the salmon covered with yolk powder was good, but it wouldn’t hook me in to coming back for more. The pickled vegetables on the other hand were a delight. The simplest thing here, but very enjoyable.
The selection of tempura was batter covered peppers and scallops which were both again nice enough. I’m not sure how much scallop flavour I got through over the taste of the batter, but knowing what was underneath still felt like a treat. The peppers for me were the winner, similar to that of a padron with a nice touch of bitterness to cut through the oil.
We enjoyed our bento box at Tokimeitē for the most part and whilst it was nice, I’m not sure it left us wanting to come back and eat another. Instead, I’d love to come back and explore its a la carte menu and discover the real talents which Executive Chef Daisuke Hayashi has to offer because this didn’t showcase that enough for me. The food is authentic, the room is lovely and so are the staff.
NB: My meal was complimentary. All views are as always, my own. My views are not influenced by anyone other than my own palate and slightly poor eyesight.