Flavor: We ordered the miso soup, tuna salad, and multiple sushi platters, which were all extremely fresh and delicious. Out of all the sushi, I highly recommend their signature platter, the foie gras sushi, which is what I can only describe as an explosion of fatty tenderness and juicy flavors in your mouth. The salmon caviar sushi, which bursts into flavors of savory delight, is also highly worth your money.
Location: Located in the center of foodie heaven on Wuding Road, this big store front with red lanterns hanging out front is hard to miss.
Vibe: Decorated like a traditional Japanese sushi joint out front, with a long bar table inside giving you a full view of the sushi-making action, this place gives off an open and inviting vibe. I’ve been told that the place is always pretty crowded due to their amazing taste (we came after the typical lunch hour and still had to wait around 20 minutes for a table), so it can feel a bit crowded inside. There are more traditional Japanese style seating divided into private booths further in, if you’re looking for the authentic Japanese dining experience.
Crowd: Mix of local and international. During lunch, a lot of white-collars working around the area come in for a quick bite. I don’t think they take reservations (during rush hours at least) so definitely plan your visit ahead and be prepared to wait!
Service: Swift and professional.
The $$: 100 RMB/ person more or less depending on what type sushi you order. Do note that this place is CASH ONLY (very rare nowadays, but that doesn’t stop the crowds from coming), so don’t forget to bring cash!
I’m aware that giving a four star review to a neighbourhood sushi bar is a bold move, but it’s a justifiable one. Tokyo House is popular for several very good reasons. It’s even worth the wait in the cramped, crowded porch area.
Firstly, the food is dependable. It isn’t the pinnacle of fine Japanese cuisine, but it doesn’t pretend to be. Go for a sashimi platter with fresh salmon and white tuna (ours was 99rmb); sample the rich cubes of marinated beef tongue (46rmb); indulge in some foie gras sushi (18rmb/piece). It’s all going to be good. They have some more unusual options, too – I really enjoyed the beancurd cheese (19rmb), which I haven’t noticed in other places.
Secondly, the prices are unbeatable for this quality. All of the dishes mentioned above, as well as a seaweed salad (15rmb) and a cheese and mushroom platter (29rmb), came to 244rmb in total. There are endless and ready refills of tea, too, and the set menus are outstanding value.
Thirdly, the restaurant itself makes me feel inexplicably calm. It must be the combination of the open kitchen, the professional service and the idiosyncratic playlist. As mentioned above, the queuing isn’t the most fun you can have over a lunchtime, but you’ll forget about the wait as soon as you’re seated.
In all, it’s nothing fancy, but it’s well-made food at a very tempting price. Great for a regular, local lunch haunt.
Tokyo House sits in the Jing’an bar and restaurant nexus of Wuding Road and Yanping Road, occupying an unassuming Japanese-style store-front just off the main strip. It’s a go-to for a lot of people working in the area for its cheap sushi lunch sets. Go at peak hours and you will be waiting for a table - rock up, grab a number scrawled on a piece of paper, and wait to be called. It always seems to be busy. Oh, and they only take cash.
For all that hassle, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best value lunch-sets in the area and some seriously tasty sushi rolls and nigiri. It’s best suited for groups of four or less, ideally a weekday lunch or casual dinner. There are a couple of small private rooms at the back, but the place gets busy, and you might be sharing table or bar space with strangers.
RMB 45 gets you nine pieces of sushi and a bowl of udon soup noodles laced with sliced pork, seaweed and grated carrot (both pictured). The noodles are fine, the meat broth good for a cold day, but they’re pretty much filler. The sushi rolls are maddeningly addictive, packed with umami flavors that, though perhaps not ones that you’d find in an actual Tokyo house, clearly keep the Jing’an office hordes coming back. Trust me, I’m one of them. It’s not the best sushi in the world, but it’s A-OK, and the price more than justifies it.
That’s Set A, and it’s a steal. Even better, they do that particular set during dinner service, too. Other sets combine various combinations of sushi with noodles and / or grilled fish, so there’s room for finding your own go-to. I haven’t ventured much into the sizeable a la carte menu of classic Japanese small plates, but plenty of tables seem to. Lots of grilled meats, general seafood, and an extensive menu of of sushi options that will generally set you back RMB 10 to RMB 20 for one or two pieces.
In order to keep a clear conscience, I have to end this review with a caveat. The one time I dined here with a Japanese friend, she called out the udon as probably frozen and described the sushi as “interesting”. She wasn’t into it. So, don’t come here for authenticity. Come for the great deals and the deliciousness of those sushi rolls. Authenticity is overrated.
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