Tokyolima: Nikkei blends Peruvian food with Japanese techniques (7.5)

It’s prime summer right now, and despite covid and evening dining restrictions, restaurants are busy as ever during the day, especially on weekends. Another of Pirata’s restaurants, Tokyolima does Japanese-Peruvian fusion (or Nikkei cuisine) and offers a pretty big mishmash of a brunch on weekends at $395 per person. The ten dishes included in the brunch are bright and colorful and flavors are mostly rich with a spicy and refreshing kick, perfect for the weather. We loved the picanha steak, the seabass ceviche and salmon tartare with yellow chilli causa. Pork belly mini bun with chimichurri and “Ki-mo-chi” fried chicken were crunchy and savorous. The brunch selection is fun for those who are too tired to make decisions on what to eat, but you’d need to be ready for stuff you may not like too much. You’d also need to pretend that this is neither a Peruvian nor Japanese restaurant, as Nikkei is really neither. While the idea of a Nikkei cuisine is still working hard to gain a foothold worldwide, with such culinary diversity in Peru and Japan, the kitchen has a huge toolkit from which to create a flavorful experience, trading in authenticity for innovation and excitement. What is authentic is a fuzzy idea anyway and depends on context, but let’s leave the gastro-politics for another time.

The dining experience seems more like an Americanized izakaya and service is pretty good all around. For an extra $180, you also get free-flow champagne, Asahi and various regional alcoholic drinks. Pretty much every table at Tokyolima is spotted with champagne glasses and the place is buzzing with lots of chatter and weekend excitement. 

Food Rundown

T-3, mixed leaf salad with pumpkin, quail egg, heirloom confit tomato, fennel, almonds and crispy glass noodles
A texture rich dish with crunchy almonds, crispy noodles, smooth pumpkin dices and juicy tomatoes.

Salmon tartare with yellow chilli causa and ginger mayo
This was particularly interesting as ginger mayo is uncommon. Causa is a Peruvian mashed potato terrine and it lends a nutty depth to the tartare. Very good.

Seabass ceviche with tiger’s milk, coriander, red onion and cancha
I love ceviche, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Cancha is a Peruvian toasted corn snack (i.e. deep-fried corn kernels) and it adds a delicious crunch to the fish.

Tuna tartare with watermelon, avocado, soy citrus and sweet potato chips
The tuna is a bit bland, but the rest of the ingredients make up for it. Again, lots of color and crunch from the deep-fried sweet potato slices.

Slow cooked pork belly mini bun with chimichurri, pickled onion and deep-fried sweet potato
Nice and spicy. If you like pork belly you’ll appreciate this (unfortunately I don’t).

“Ki-mo-chi” fried chicken with spicy soy tare
Karaage is pre-marinated with soy sauce, ginger and garlic for maximum flavor so it’s always savorous and tempting.

Maguro (tuna) sushi roll with avocado, sesame, tobiko and beetroot mayo
This sushi roll is not much to write home about, but the beetroot mayo added a pretty interesting flavor (and color) to an otherwise boring dish.

Grilled rump steak with coriander chimichurri and pickled salad
Absolutely flavorful. Perfect execution. We requested 40% doneness and it came out 40%.

Slow-cooked beef short ribs with coriander gravy and pickled onion
This was slow-cooked to extreme tenderness, and the coriander gravy was pretty addictive and satiating. But, having tried a slice of the picanha, I’d go for the grilled steak ten times out of ten.

Chocolate brownie with strawberries and custard
Just a small sweet bite. Nothing too interesting there but the strawberries were sweet.


$$, Peruvian, Japanese

G/F, 18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central