There are six Eat Tokyo restaurants in London aside from their Tonkotsu-ya branch in Mayfair and their G2 Shabu Shabu outlet next to their Golders Green branch. You’ve probably already come across Eat Tokyo already on social media. They are well-known for their authentic Japanese food that come at reasonable prices. One of the images you’ll often see is of their fantastic Sushi Bento Box which costs just under £20. However you may also see some very varied reviews online – some rave and others do not. We decided to try out Eat Tokyo for ourselves.
First, with so many options in central London how did we decide which one to visit? After a quick look at reviews online it appears the branch with the most negative comments was Soho. This left Convent Garden and Holborn if we wanted to keep it truly in the centre. Although we tried to call and book a table, both branches said they were not taking reservations. So in the end we decided on Convent Garden as it was more conveniently located for us.
Queueing outside Eat Tokyo Convent Garden
Eat Tokyo’s Convent Garden branch is located on Catherine Street, opposite of Theatre Royal Drury Lane and a few streets east of Convent Garden. Quite a few of the online comments talk about “no frills decor” at certain branches in need of a revamp. However you could see this branch was decked out with natural wood panneling and even a koi pond by the front window. While we waited outside, we saw that Eat Tokyo is an officially accredited Authentic Japanese Restaurant. It’s interesting to see this sign and after a quick search online I found the Nintei Nihon site. It appears that the aim was to introduce authentic Japanese restaurants around the UK although there have not been any updates recently. However, have a look if you are outside of London as they do have restaurant recommendations all around the UK.
Something our group found more exciting at the time was “the lady and her cat”. To clarify, as we were waiting, a lady came up to the entrance with a white cat draped on her shoulders. This cat had huge round green eyes just like an anime character and quickly became the darling of the queue. Meanwhile her owner went inside and procured a takeaway bag from Eat Tokyo. We can not guarantee you will see this on any future visit but please let us know if you do! As for the queue itself, since there were 5 of us, we did have to wait slightly longer than the couples and smaller groups. However it wasn’t longer than 20 minutes and genuinely we didn’t notice. It also gave us time to check out the menu and decide what to eat.
Eat Tokyo Interior
Once inside, we were led upstairs to the first floor passing a landing with sake barrels and TV screens. It was great to see live Japanese TV on the screens and really did make you feel “at home”. If you are Japanese or have lived in Japan you will know NHK of course. We also wondered why there were not more screens like this in Japanese restaurants in the UK.
The first floor was as busy and lively as the ground floor but the atmosphere was pleasant and not overly noisy. Our table was at the far end near a glass square section of the floor where you could see down into the koi pond below. Eat Tokyo’s Convent Garden branch is certainly full of features when it comes to the interior decor!
What did we order?
First we ordered some deep-fried squid rings. They were a pleasingly golden brown colour and cooked to perfection. The batter was light and crispy and the squid inside was tender. An excellent starter for sure although there are so many other great choices. The menu is almost like a small book with so many sections covering all kinds of dishes.
One of the great things about Eat Tokyo is their Bento boxes which all come with generous portions. One of our group went for the Tonkatsu Bento which features a nice breaded deep-fried pork cutlet. This Bento box includes Agedashi Tofu (Deep-fried Tofu) which my Japanese friend was very happy to see. Also along with the black sesame seeds sprinkled on the rice was a small salad plus some salmon and avocado rolls.
Two of the guys in the group decided to get the Double Size Japanese Curry Rice. As you can see in the photo above, this was a gigantic plate and probably the biggest serving we’ve ever seen. That’s a full size tablespoon you see there! The curry rice came with Chicken Katsu (cutlets) and some chunky potatoes and carrots. Both friends found the curry delicious and even managed to eat everything on their plate.
I ordered the ever popular Sushi Bento. Like the other Bento boxes, it is made up of two trays which for some reason were brought out separately. The waiter explained it was because the sushi tray is prepared separately to the tempura one. This was not a real issue although it would have been nice to have both come at the same time.
So the first photo here is of the left side of the sushi tray. The sashimi on top of the rice were tuna, salmon, prawn, crab, yellowtail, octopus, bonito and mackerel. Also you may see the egg roll peeking out and the Tobiko (flying fish) roe with the yellow Takuan beside it. It’s really quite rare to see so many types of sashimi like this and the quality was good. My favourites here were the yellowtail and the cured mackerel.
Then I looked at the right hand side of the tray where there were 3 salmon rolls and 4 nigiri sushi. The nigiri were salmon, sea bream, tuna, and yellowtail. All the nigiri tasted great and I was happy with the tuna quality. Have to admit I was getting a little full after eating this tray.
Next up was the tempura tray which came with salmon and tuna sashimi and a small salad on the left side of the tempura. The salmon sashimi was lovely and fresh and I enjoyed the delicious chunky cuts. Also the prawn tempura were excellent! You can see how good the batter is from the photo and the prawns were full of flavour. The juicy courgette tempura was okay too just I’m still not used to the taste as I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever eaten in Japan.
Eat Tokyo Rating
Eat Tokyo definitely made a good first impression. We’d give our visit to the Convent Garden branch 4.6 stars out of 5 stars. The food was authentic and the quality of sushi and sashimi was good. There were a few sashimi slices not on the highest level but they were still decent. The range of dishes at Eat Tokyo is extremely impressive. They have it all – Izakaya food, Nimono dishes, and even Wagyu! The menu is really like a small book but even if you aren’t sure what you want, there are photos to help you. Also in case you wanted to know more about the branch head chef – there is even a page with his bio at the back.
Possibly other branches are different in terms of decor, but the Convent Garden branch was certainly not in need of any new decoration. As mentioned there are a few features that I personally liked like the TV screens or small Koi pool. Also the service was excellent. The staff were knowledgeable and explained what was in each dish when asked. Honestly not all staff can do this especially when they are super busy. However our server was patient and very friendly.
If you are looking for good value and authentic Japanese food, Eat Tokyo would be a great choice. The regular Bento boxes like the Tonkatsu Bento was £10 and the regular curry rice was £8. Even the double curry rice was only £10. As we say in Japan, Eat Tokyo boasts superb cost-performance.
Please let us know in the comments below what your Eat Tokyo experience was like. Also, please check out our Top 10 Japanese restaurant list if you are looking for more authentic Japanese restaurants in London.