When Toko Dubai first opened there were a few raised eyebrows about yet another Japanese restaurant. A few months later and this venue is a new downtown favorite. It offers an exquisite selection of Japanese dishes set within a contemporary ambiance.
I went Toko Dubai for a weekday work lunch and was pleasantly seated outside underneath a span of colorful Japanese umbrellas. It was surprisingly quiet – so much so that you could even hear a few birds chirping. We did not get the sense that we were in Downtown Dubai.
With a lack of time to spare and ravenous over the delightful list of delicious concoctions, we opted for a few small dishes to taste and share. Spicy edamame with chili sauce came first. We also ordered Dengaku Nasu or sweet eggplant miso and Hotate no jalapeno amazu – pan-fried scallops with sweet pickled apple and jalapeno garlic. Both were tasty and laden with fresh flavors. And there was also the Japanese salad filled with zesty ingredients such as seasonal leaves, asparagus, cucumber, avocado and light-wafu. It was light and satiating.
For our main we shared a Hata no saikyo yaki – a saikyo miso marinated black cod. Toko’s rendition wasn’t as creamy as I’ve experienced at other Japanese restaurants in Dubai. But what it did have is a wonderfully grilled texture. It was lightly marinated in a way that we could get the most flavor possible and also enjoy its meaty consistency. Our other principle course was a plate of Pirikara aburizake to avocado maki – spicy seared salmon, avocado, kizami wasabi. Quickly one of our favorite dishes, the rolls were incredibly fresh and bursting with taste.
A green tea followed before we asked for the check and departed ways to continue our day. This quick culinary fix was a pleasant and calming interlude to an otherwise frantic day. The food is top-notch and the ambiance very zen – the ideal escapade away from the work office.
Toko Dubai is located in Vida Hotel. Tel: +971 44428383