G/F, 18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2811 1152
Japanese-Peruvian cuisine has found a home in Hong Kong at TokyoLima, the buzzy late-night, izakaya-style den tucked away on Lyndhurst Terrace. Touting authentic Nikkei cuisine from Peru – home to the largest population of Japanese outside of their home country – TokyoLima’s eclectic menu and electrifying atmosphere has it vying for the title of Hong Kong’s hottest restaurant.
Hidden away in a nondescript building on one of Central’s busiest streets, TokyoLima is just the sort of secret hideaway that proves outward appearances can be deceiving. Step through the double doors and find yourself in a stylish, secluded space, bereft of windows but with plenty of soft, warm lighting from the glow of vintage gold and brass chandeliers. Geometric patterns and soft draping fabrics create a modern, sophisticated look, coupled with warm earth tones and touches of teal and grey for contrast.
The thoughtful décor is a trademark of the Pirata Group, led by founders Manuel Palacio and Christian Talpo. TokyoLima is their third venue and draws on the winning formula of their prior restaurants – warm hospitality, honest prices and quality food and drinks.
To tick off this last item is Peruvian Chef, Arturo Melendez, previously head of popular Peruvian restaurant, Chicha, before it shuttered its doors in 2015. Mourning Chicha’s closing along with the rest of Hong Kong, Manuel and Christian took the opportunity to approach Arturo for their new venture – a perfect fit given the focus on Nikkei cuisine.
TokyoLima represents Arturo’s most creative leap yet, and one he’s conquered with gusto. His intuition when it comes to blending South American and Japanese flavours is spot-on, and dishes are well-balanced in spite of, or perhaps due to, the liberal use of ingredients and spices.
Take the “T-3 Typhoon Salad”, which features up to 10 ingredients, each jostling for attention on the plate. From sweet pumpkin to crispy glass noodles, bright pops of tomato, grilled fennel and a creamy poached quail egg, the textures and flavours somehow work together, combining into a dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
From the starters, the “Ki-mo-chi” fried chicken is another standout – crispy morsels marinated in a spicy soy tare, with a well-seasoned crust that yields to tender and juicy thigh meat inside. Cleanse your palate with a selection of ceviches and tiraditos before jumping back into heartier mains, where a range of izakaya-style skewers and larger meat and seafood items await, including a sensational lobster acevichada doused in sweet chilli butter.
For drinks, it’s all about the cocktails here, many of which take inspiration from Japan. Try the sake martini for a refreshing sip between bites, its base of vodka and sake lifted with a touch of orange blossom water for a subtle fragrance.
While TokyoLima bills itself as a late-night destination, happy hours and brunches are a popular ticket item, and the result is a restaurant that buzzes at any time of day. If you can’t decide on the menu, go for the ‘Feed Me’ Tasting Menu option – Arturo will surprise and delight you with his signature dishes, balancing the heat and spice of Peru with the delicate flavours of Japan in a way that keeps your palate tingling at every turn.