Friday, December 29, 2017

Restaurant review: EAT TOKYO (Covent Garden)

Over the past few months, I’ve been to Eat Tokyo twice, and if I’m ever in Covent Garden and struggling to decide on somewhere to eat, this restaurant will be at the forefront of my mind.

Just with Dishoom and On the Bab, it doesn’t take reservations and you have to queue. This suggests the restaurant cares more about profits than comfort of its customers. However, the fact that there are always droves of people queuing outside the Covent Garden branch of Eat Tokyo means that these people deem the food is worth queuing for.

The first time I dined there, I had a salmon teriyaki bento box. There are a variety of bento boxes at Eat Tokyo, ranging from sashimi, chicken katsu and vegetarian. They range in price, but the most expensive bento box is £18. These two are both less than that (~£16 and £8.50, if I remember correctly):

Authentic Japanese food at its best!

The one I chose is pictured below:

For £18, this box is a steal. The sashimi in the bottom left-hand corner was incredible (the soft fish melted on my mouth), and sushi in the right-hand bottom box went so well with the soy sauce that was placed on every table. The tempura was crispy and delicious. The marquee item of the ensemble, the salmon teriyaki, had been marinated to perfection. I consider seafood generally a more healthy option than red meat, so it pleased me that what I was eating was good for the taste buds as well as the body.

So taken was I with the high quality (and almost-too-good-to-be-true prices) of the sushi and sashimi, that on my second visit to Eat Tokyo, I had the sushi box. With a dollop of wasabi sauce and sitting on a bed of rice, this was authentic Japanese dining that was also so yummy! And look how well the colours complement each other:

I also had a side helping of tempura, as I liked the tempura I had in my bento box so much from my first visit. The majority of this dish was fabulous, although the vegetable tempura was probably the least impressive item I’ve had at Eat Tokyo. There was nothing wrong with it per se, it just didn’t match the ridiculously high standards set by the sashimi and salmon.

There is also a nice collection of soft drinks, at prices that are much cheaper than other Covent Garden eateries charge.

For people who like their dining experiences with a side order of subservience, Eat Tokyo might prove to be somewhat of a rude awakening. The service at Eat Tokyo, like at restaurants in the adjacent Chinatown, is perfunctory to the point of being curt.

On the plus side, because waiters and waitresses don’t wasting time pretending they like their customers, the food is at least delivered in an expeditious manner.

Personally, I don’t think the service here merits the 12.5% service charge they help themselves to; it would be better if they didn’t add service charge onto the bill and allowed people to decide for themselves whether they wanted to tip (I suspect most wouldn’t). But at least we’re not in America, with their 20%-type tips (New York was difficult for me in that respect!), so I guess I’ll count my blessings.

However, the management helping themselves to an undeserved tip is my only major foible with Eat Tokyo. Overall, like its Korean Covent Garden neighbour, On the Bab, Eat Tokyo is worth queuing up for. For the prices charged, you won’t find food anywhere else in central London that is simultaneously as nutritious, delicious and photogenic as that in Eat Tokyo.

Once you’ve eaten at Eat Tokyo, you’ll always want to eat at Eat Tokyo.

Grade: A


For more of my restaurant reviews, click here. As you can see, I don't often give out As!

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