Tokyo Diner, Chinatown, London
It’s a bit of a shame that I discovered Chinatown’s Tokyo Diner so late. It’s humble, minimalistic style reeks of authenticity. I’d love to try more of what they have to offer. And to it’s credit, it carries all the successful hallmarks of an actual Tokyo Diner.
I would be so keen to head back to Tokyo Diner even now. It is certainly more expensive than the likes of cut-price, cut-quality Misato, but still firmly in the casual dining category with mains around the £10 mark.
Somehow it even has a Wikipedia entry! The owner (I think) is a Brit and opened way back in 1992 as a way of introducing cheap, cheerful Japanese eating to his home city. The fact that it still stands down is a testament to the success that it’s had.
That authenticity stretches to the service and the experience – even tips aren’t asked for and anything left on the tables is donated to charity. A nice touch, especially since the service culture in London was so inconsistent.
A katsu above the rest
My friend Ryan and I know our Japanese cuisine and we’ve had similar food many times before. The lunch special isn’t a huge portion but what you get is very flavourful. The kastu has this ginger-citrus (?) crumble which adds some zesty notes, and there is plenty of the miso and rice. A few pickles and salad make it stand out for being not-you-average-chain-store Japanese meal.
Tokyo Diner: Plenty of menu options – charming service – authentically prepared food.
The Wasabi and Itsus of UK were certainly strange to me, even moreso now that I’ve left the country and thought above the cuisines of the world more fully. The ‘Japanese’ food felt so watered down that it ended up tasting like something from a different country completely. But if you need something that feels a little more proper, Tokyo Diner in Chinatown is the way to go.