There’s a big difference with attending media invites to bar and restaurant openings, and just going there with friends as a normal customer.
When you organise a get-together, you get to see how good a restaurant is – from the way they handle your emails and calls, to when you walk in, how they take care of you the entire night, and when you leave.
You get to actually experience the ‘real’ deal.
Toko is 10 out of 10, for me. We had such a great night – and here’s the story to share 🙂
Schoolnight. I gave them a call from work to double check if their ladies nights is still on and she told me it would start at 7pm, to adjust to Ramadan timing. All tables are fully booked, but we could grab a seat at the bar. Perfect.
Off we went to Vida. Now few weeks ago when we stayed there (click here to read our write-up), we walked past Toko and I told G, we gotta come back sometime. I’m usually a little sceptical of japanese restaurants in Dubai, as they tend to be “over-fusioned-up” if there’s such a word, and overly priced. I miss simple yakitori bars. Now Toko I would say, is in between. As far as japanese restaurants go, it’s at the top of my list right now 🙂
And I would say that 90% of the credit goes to Mr. Bartender who took care of us last night.
From the passionfruit martinis, to explaining all about Toko’s history and concept, to showing us all the different Japanese liquers you get, and food recommendations….. it felt like we were at a personal ‘tour’ of Toko 🙂
The Toko signature rolls – akami to katuobushi roll ( tuna bonito flake maki ) and unagi roll was absolutely delicious. If you just wanted to try one of those two, my pick would be the latter. Eel, chopped chives, sweet soy and star fruit never went together so well with sushi rice.
This is making me hungry again. Ah, how I miss yakitori. Skewered chicken, spring onions and shichimi pepper – Toko does it so well, that even one of the girls M, who is Japanese, said that this is proper yakitori. Thumbs up 🙂 It is a little pricey you can say, 45AED for two, but hey, splurge a little – it is good. Keep in mind it’s 30% off so it’s not too bad right.
I’m honestly not a big salad eater, but B, she absolutely loved this one 🙂 Our local japanese could tell that they had used yuzu in the dressing, and before last night I had no idea what yuzu was. Instead of quoting wiki, have a read here yourself 😉
Apparently a 30ml of the 30year whiskey on the left will cost you 540AED. Or was it 60ml? I cannot remember 😉 I would like to be there to witness somebody pay for it and then drink it, ha ha.
Umeshu, also known as plum wine is my personal favourite. Before realising they have Choya Umeshu in Barracudda, we use to bring it back from New Zealand. If you haven’t tried it before, and you like sweet and sour, try it 🙂
And yuzu sake, this is my new favourite japanese liquer. Ah, gotta see if I can get hold of a bottle!
We thought we’ll try the cocktails from the menu as well (not part of Ladies night), and Mr. Bartender recommended Toko’s signature – Akatini.
Sake, combined with vodka, raspberries and a hint of pineapple and lemongrass. It was so smooth, and easy to drink. I don’t normally like sake but the combination of it all – it was delicious.
As I wandered down the restaurant to explore a little, you can see the entire kitchen and watch the men prepare the food. I love open kitchen. Here’s a shot of them preparing unagi with a torch 😉
The music picks up later and the the restaurant and bar was absolutely packed last night. Toko is definitely a popular spot, and one that we will return quite often.
Tops my list for ladies night this year, and once more, credits to Mr Bartender….. David, from Port Elizabeth 😉 Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, for the recommendations, for knowing so well about Toko – the place, the drinks and the menu – this is what every bartender should be like 😉
We’ll be back.
- Toko Dubai
- Emaar Boulevarard
- Ladies Nights every Wednesdays – 4 complimentary drinks & 30% off food
- +971 (0) 4442 8383
PS – To Poppy (?) that managed to get us to write a wish and hang it on the tree – I don’t think mine was actually legible, ha ha. So if you do go by Toko and see 4 hand-written wishes on a lil fabric that’s not legible, that’s us 😉
PPS – I’ve just found out that the wish-hanging thing is a competition, lol. ” Japanese Star Festival
This month-long festive event will be Toko Dubai’s first ever Japanese Star Festival, Tanabata. Guests are invited to write down their wishes on strips of tanzaku paper and then hang them up on a bonsai tree at the entrance of the restaurant. On the evening of the July 7, a wish will be picked from the tree where a lucky winner will win dinner for four at Toko. ” I should probably go back and write my name properly he he he