I have been on the prowl for Peruvian food in Hong Kong ever since I came back from my trip to London and discovered the Peruvian restaurant, Ceviche, where I had my favourite meal over my 9-day trip (see also: 8 of London’s Must-Visit Restaurants for First Timers). So as soon as I read news about TokyoLima – a Peruvian-Japanese or ‘Nikkei’ restaurant – opening up in Hong Kong, high hopes were cultivating.
Restaurant Week was the perfect excuse. So I dragged my family along and we were all surprised with how good a deal we ended up with: HK$398 for 5 courses. Most importantly, most of the portions were very sizeable. (This means that the portions in these photos are probably not the same as the a la carte options)
For a good dinner night out, good vibes are almost equally as important as good food and drinks. Impressively, Tokyolima delivers on all three fronts.
The entrance to Tokyolima is a bit obscure – you have to climb half a flight of stairs next to a carpark entrance and I kept thinking I was going the wrong way because there was surprisingly no signage on the street level. But anyway, once you walk into the doors, the dimly lighted lively dining and bar area felt perfect for a Friday or Saturday night out with friends. My parents may have felt just a tad out of place but appreciated that I took them to see “what bars are like these days” (imagine it said in Cantonese).
First course: ‘Ki-mo-chi’ Chicken
The Japanese Karage-style fried chicken arrived first and these were obvious crowd pleasers which were wiped out less than 15 seconds after I rushed a photo (ok, two) of it. The spicy twist was loved by all, especially my mother. That said, the taste is admittedly quite imagine-able and it was not the most interesting dish – still delicious and absolutely faultless otherwise though.
First course: La Causa *must order*
Causa is a Peruvian dish made with different potatoes. The ‘causa’ here is made with beetroot – it tastes like a potato mash with accentuated flavours and a hint of sweetness. More intriguingly, it was topped with a perfectly battered fresh and juicy tempura prawn, plus a small scoop of prawn tartare. The three main components went together perfectly, yet was an interesting dish that had all of us wishing we ordered more of this starter.
Second course: Maguro & Avocado
When these sushis arrived, we were pleased in a way because it was something familiarly satisfying. We were equally surprised at the portion as these eight pieces were meant to be part of one person’s set menu that night. We were so surprised that we asked whether they had incorrectly even us extra orders of this dish. These were straight forward and delicious.
Second course: Hamachi & Maguro
Perhaps I have an affinity to ceviches but I would probably recommend the H&M ceviche over the tuna and avocado rolls above. The raw fish was fresh and the sauce was tasty.
Third course: Chicken Breast Yakitori
Despite our generally positive experience at TokyoLima, depending on what you order, I can definitely sympathise with two of my friends who had come two weeks earlier, but were much less impressed. There were admittedly hits and misses. I was looking forward to the chicken yakitori, but was quite disappointed because the meat was dry and was not tastily marinated. We were advised to eat it with the stuff on the side, but it didn’t help too much.
Third course: Portobello & Nasu
Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed the portobello and eggplant one much better than the chicken breast. Each piece was soft and dolloped with the right amount of miso sauce which made it flavourful.
Fourth course: Tacu Tacu (Peruvian fried rice) *must order*
The meat lover in me would’ve definitely chosen the steak option for the fourth course (see next dish), as did literally the rest of the family. But thankfully I was briefed by a colleague of mine who also came here for Restaurant Week. Our bathroom conversation lasted about 12 seconds, during which she only managed to mention one thing: the Peruvian rice was sooo good. And it was probably the highlight of my meal too.
The rice is kind of mushy, yet there were frequent patches of crispy burnt edges all over, which meant that there was still texture to each bite. Each bite was so extremely flavourful and perfect with the roasted peppers too. If you have to order just one dish, it’d be this.
Fourth course: Picanha (Rump steak) *must order*
The rump steak was cooked perfectly: it had aromatic crispy charred edges, very medium-rare, bordering rare centre, and the texture was not chewy. We loved it so much that I just had to clear my doubts as to whether I can order this from the a la carte menu the next time I’m here (when Restaurant Week is over). Unfortunately they only serve the rump steak as a yakitori thing on their a la carte menu – I’m not sure if it’d be equally impressive though… Let me know if you try it!
Desserts: Kalamansi Pie
Kalamansi is a Kumquat-Lime hybrid, explaining why this dessert looks very much like a lemon tart. The pie was pretty standard to be honest but we did love the side of super creamy almond flavoured ice cream!
(See also: 8 Best Lemon Tarts in Hong Kong)
Desserts: Green Tea Tiramisu
The green tea tiramisu was not very strong in green tea flavours – other than that, we had no particular complaints but it definitely wasn’t as special compared with the main course dishes we sampled here. So I think you can load up on mains and cocktails here instead!
(See also: Recipe for a Perfectly Creamy Tiramisu)
Place-to-be for cocktails and fun food
I was first drawn to this place for its Peruvian cuisine, but TokyoLima doesn’t really deliver the full Peruvian affair; the Japanese influences are definitely heavy too. But I appreciate that this concept may just be as Peruvian as Hong Kong peeps in general can comfortably accept and revisit on a regular basis – I’m guessing that’s partially why the other Peruvian spots in Hong Kong didn’t quite make it.
All in all, I enjoyed this place because food was generally very good, while having just enough of an interesting twist to make it a place to talk about. The cocktails are highly recommended too. The lively ambience and well curated vibes mean that it’s also a good place just to have drinks as well.
Car Po Commercial Building, G/F (go up the half flight of stairs right next to the car park entrance – it’s not actually on the ground floor)
18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace,
Phone: 2811 1152
Spend per person: HK$500-600 (including drinks)