It is always nice to open your emails and find a invitation, it is even nicer when that invitation is to a very funky shochu bar called Tokonoma.
So by the kind invitation of Chef, Regan Porteous and General Manager, Paul Birtwistle I found myself on a Thursday night at Tokonoma with Sian from Mark Communications and a couple of fellow food bloggers.As soon as you walk in the establishment has a great vibe about it. A small bar area at the front which has leather lounges, low tables and candles flickering away. Up the back are lush leather banquettes. Wood and leather mixed with low lighting give you a warm and welcoming feel, so do the staff.
We started off with a few cocktails, the list offers the standard range as well as some great unique ones.
I also tried some nashi pear and pistachio shochu, I have had shochu before but not flavoured.
Tokonoma have a wonderful menu, there really is great range, which all looks delicious. Luckily my fellow diners didn’t have to put up with my inability to make a decision as we had the tasting menu which is a 10 course chefs selection of signature dishes.
First up was gyu niku no tataki, (seared beef, pickled onions, mizuna and garlic chips). Loved the crunch of the garlic chip with the beautifully sliced beef seared to perfection. Was melt in your mouth and flavoursome.
Maguro no miso taru taru (tuna tartar, baby shiso leaves, barley miso dressing). I adore tuna tartar and this was extremely moreish. The tuna was combined with finely chopped red onion, sesame seeds, green onion and miso. Served with white sweet potato chips which added a lovely crunch.Watari-gani kara-age (crispy soft-shell crab with wasabi mayonnaise). Was everything I would want from a crispy soft shell crab, the coating crisp and thin, the accompanying mayo not too overpowering in order to appreciate the subtle flavours of the crab.
Omakase zushi (assorted selection of toko rolls and nigiri). Beautifully presented as with all the other dishes.Piri kara dofu to abogado (spicy fried tofu, avocado salsa, barley miso). Nice crisp spicy tofu paired with a creamy avocado salsa. Visually gorgeous, tasted good too 🙂Hotate no jalapeno amuzu zoe (robata grilled scallop, sweet pickled apple, jalapeno garlic). I am just drooling looking back at this picture. Perfectly cooked plump scallop, the jalapeno sauce had a kick to it which was subdued with the sweet apple. This was one of my favourites.Ami yaki ro-su riku to wafu sauce (scotch fillet steak, wafu sauce, garlic crisps). The fillet was cooked to perfection and just melted in your mouth. The sauces married with it were delicious and I loved the freshness of the bean sprouts and green onions on top. This was my other favourite and I could of eaten it all quite happily by myself. I had to control my only child syndrome and reluctantly shared with others.Zucchini no wafu yaki (zucchini, wafu sauce, sesame). Sadly this dish didn’t sing to me like all the others and as it was served towards the end it was a bit of a shame. As far as zucchini goes it was done nicely.Shiro Miso (white miso soup, spring onion, tofu, wakame). Lovely miso soup and a great pallet cleanser for what was about to appear.
Dessert plate, chefs selection of desserts. Oh My God!!!! I have never ever had a dessert plate sat in front of me of this magnitude before. It really was spectacular and sadly my photos don’t do it justice. In the middle was a carved piece of ice with home-made ice creams and sorbets. Then around this were a selection of brulees, chocolate fondant, ginger pudding with poached figlettes caramelised and kokutou pear and white chocolate spring rolls.
It really was a sensational meal and Tokonoma is definitely on my return visit list. Lots more tempting cocktails to try and lots more on the menu too. Sadly I am going to have cravings for those scallops and fillet steak which will need to be satisfied.