Bar review: TokyoLima, Central – a selection of sakes in a laid-back atmosphere
A ‘Smoking Gun’ cocktail presented in a little pirate chest and a refreshing gin-based Lady Marmalade cocktail are just two of the standout creations on a beautifully blended drinks list inspired by disparate cities Tokyo and Lima
The vibe: as the name suggests, TokyoLima is inspired by the Nikkei culture of Japanese emigrants to Peru, combining elements of Japan and South America. Located up a flight of steps set back from Lyndhurst Terrace at the entrance to the Car Po Commercial Building, the entrance is easy to miss. Inside, the snug, quiet bar is separated from the lively restaurant. The aim is to create the feel of a Japanese izakaya – an informal spot where people go after work to drink and relax – and it succeeds well.
Done in soft browns and ochres, the decor features some intriguing details, including stylish seats, and walls with patterns of tiles in different textures. Service is pleasant and professional, if pressured – a week after opening, the place was packed.
The drinks: in keeping with the concept, there’s an impressive range of sakes (available by the glass, carafe or bottle) plus a good selection of tequila, mescal and pisco.
Signature cocktails are arranged under two headings, Tokyo and (you guessed it) Lima. Curiously Peru’s national drink, the pisco sour, wasn’t listed but they made it for us on request and very good it was (HK$100, pisco, lime juice, sugar, egg white).
Also from the Lima list, Lady Marmalade (HK$120, Bombay gin, Aperol, limoncello, Malibu, lemon juice, marmalade) was delicious – complex, refreshing and floral with just a hint of coconut from the Malibu.
Turning to Tokyo, Smoking Gun (HK$110, Lapsang tea-infused Bulldog gin, Campari, chocolate bitters, Yzaguirre red vermouth) was presented in spectacular fashion in a miniature pirate chest which opened to reveal the drink (which was indeed smoking).
Once the actual smoke had cleared, this was a nicely balanced take on a negroni, with the smoky flavour of the Lapsang tea adding an unusual note. The Sake Martini (HK$95, Takizawa Tokujo sake, Stolichnaya lemon, orange blossom water) was charmingly decorated with an origami crane attached to the glass, although the drink itself disappointed – it tasted like watered-down chilled sake, with the vodka imperceptible.
The verdict: well worth a visit for an original concept and creative mixology or to try out a range of sakes in a nicely laid-back atmosphere.
TokyoLima , 18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Tel: 2811 1152. Open: Tuesday to Sunday 6pm-midnight (Friday and Saturday until 1am)
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