Located slap bang in the centre of Lan Kwai Fong, Tokio Joe has been pleasing its customers with its “stylish Japanese food” for over a decade, always managing to fill its seats, no matter what day of the week it is.
Having been only once in my three years back in Hong Kong, an invitation arose and I jumped at the chance to go again and see if it truly was as good as I remembered.
The space, despite being larger than I initially anticipated, remains cosy and effortlessly chic, with dark wood, dim lighting and of course the central sushi bar, where diners can watch the sushi-chefs-cum-artists hard at work.
To ease us in to the meal, we were first presented with a bowl of lightly salted edamame and a tomato salad drizzled in a tangy, garlicky soy sauce. The tomatoes were wonderfully fresh and ripe, making this very simple dish shine, before we had even tried anything from the menu.
Continuing with the salad theme, our first starter proper was a toro usu salad. Wafer-thin slices of super tender tuna belly were served with fresh, crunchy leaves and a light balsamic vinaigrette, creating an interesting blend of eastern and western flavours that came together perfectly.
Following this, a beautiful sashimi and sushi combo was laid before us, including sweet prawns, salmon and hamachi sashimi, uni sushi, tuna stuffed with spicy avocado sauce and spicy sushi cakes. Each bite was incredibly fresh and light, highlighting the sheer quality of Tokio Joe’s seafood. Whilst we were a little disappointed by the mildness of the ‘spicy’ avocado sauce, the spicy sushi cake, made with minced salmon, tuna and spicy rice, was by far our favourite.
The spicy toro tartar, justifiably one of Tokio Joe’s most popular dishes, was incredible. Little parcels of finely minced tuna, crunchy flakes and spicy sauce are wrapped up in crisp lettuce leaves, creating an explosion of flavours and textures that will more than wow you.
Moving onto the main courses, the kelp-grilled sea bass, another of the restaurant’s signature dishes, was divine. The fish, marinated in miso, was remarkably tender and had a subtle, sweet flavour, enhanced by the slightly spicy sichiminaise. I wasn’t such a fan of the pickled carrot, but it was probably designed as more of a garnish than part of the dish (greedy? Me?).
The beef goma fumi, grilled beef served in a sweet sesame sauce, was also delicious, even if a couple of pieces of beef were a little on the chewy side.
In case we hadn’t eaten enough yet, we decided to order a half portion of the house special rolls (soft shell crab, avocado and crab roe) and the dynamite rolls (similar but with tempura shrimp). Both varieties, although rather alike, packed a lot of flavour yet were light and far too easy to eat, despite almost bursting at the seams.
Dessert was not your predictable green tea or sesame flavoured ice cream – instead, it was a refreshing medley of fresh fruit, nate de coco and pineapple and mandarin sorbets, each beautifully presented in its own skin and serving as the perfect end to a wonderful meal.
The excellent service at Tokio Joe comes with a smile, even when the restaurant is at capacity. Prices, including a carafe of sake, might give you a little shock (approximately $800+ per person), but for the quality and flavour of the food, they won’t be enough to scare you away from a repeat visit.
16 Lan Kwai Fong
Tel: +852 2525 1889