LONDON | Chains like Itsu and Wasabi have helped make sushi and sashimi part of the capital’s staple lunch diet, however, you won’t know what a proper sushi fix is until you’ve tried some authentic Japanese restaurants that are flourishing in London. Eat Tokyo, despite also being a chain, is one of them.
Walk inside and it feels like you’ve been transported to Tokyo. It’s all very authentic, from the low-key, wooden themed exterior, to the fast paced service, to the space efficient setting inside. Diners can choose to sit in small booths or closely packed tables, or the bar for some peace. The cosiness is countered with bright warm lights and large TV screens showing various Japanese scenes. When we visited for dinner the TVs were showing pristine white snow.
The menu is pretty heavyweight, with endless pages and pictures of different combos of sushi and sashimi. There are also other Japanese favourites, such as gyoza, ramen, or donburi (rice bowl, topped with fillings of choice). If you’re new to sushi the choice can be overwhelming – just choose a few things and go on a bit of a discovery.
We started with fried octopus legs, then moved on mains with a large plate of unagi (grilled eel) sushi and a sashimi combo (which consisted of raw scallops, fat tuna, lean tuna, salmon, yellow tail, and mackerel). Between the two of us, we also shared a bottle of Japanese plum wine, which is both strong and sweet; and finished the meal with green tea and mango mochi ice cream.
Whilst the starter and desserts were not amongst our most memorable choices, the sushi and sashimi definitely hit the spot. The unagi was flavoursome and soft, on a bed of sushi rice rolled around pieces of avocado and some more unagi, generously topped with tobiko (flying fish roe). The sashimi was fresh and of very high quality – the seafood literally melts in your mouth. We are big believers of traditional, time-tested dishes done properly, and the sushi and sashimi at Eat Tokyo gets all the important things right.
Service is fast and efficient with a smile. We spontaneously came for dinner on a Friday night, which meant there were no booking spaces left, but the line was only about 15 minutes so we didn’t mind waiting. Someone behind us in the queue had been coming here for years.
Eat Tokyo isn’t the place for a dinner with trendy décor and ambience, but if you come for an authentic sushi experience at a reasonable price, Eat Tokyo will give you what you need. We know we’ll be back for more.
50 Red Lion Street
London WC1R 4PF
Mon – Fri: 12:00am to 3:30pm; 6:00pm to 11:30pm
Sat: 12:00am to 4:00pm; 5:30pm to 11:30pm
Sun: 12:00am to 4:00pm; 5:30pm to 10:30pm