Opened in September 2019 by high-end Japanese hotel group Prince Hotels, Marylebone’s five-star The Prince Akatoki London hotel may be a Georgian townhouse on the outside, but inside it is a sanctuary of Japanese-inspired calm. Just through the (automatic and very imposing) doors sits the luxury establishment’s recently opened restaurant, TOKii, which continues the soothing but sleek East-meets-West feel.
Heading into the low spa-like glow of TOKii, we immediately feel the tension from the walk down Oxford Street slipping away. The restaurant is smart but understated in that minimalist way that the Japanese do so well. Square dark wood tables match dark wood room dividers, offset by crisp white tableware. Natural elements including vibrant flower arrangements and knotted wood doors add a softer touch. A liquid-metal wall mural, inspired by the ocean, which is flanked by mirrored columns behind the central sushi counter, adds an air of sophistication. There is also a great drinking space complete with roaring fire and a wall of premium Japanese whiskies – The Malt Lounge – hidden through the restaurant.
TOKii’s modern main menu focuses on sharing plates of sushi, sashimi, seafood and dishes from the robata grill, often with a twist away from tradition. Our crispy breaded quail eggs arrive hot, with a Japanese mustard mayo that Brummell could happily smother on every dish, while a panko-crusted goat’s cheese topped with salt-baked beets and balsamic vinegar is the perfect balance of sharp and sweet. A beautifully plated parcel of tuna tartare arrives topped with avocado and delicate lotus root crisps for added texture, while the bowl of steamed mussels with sake, lemongrass, chilli and coriander is fragrant, flavourful and the perfect portion for two. Leaving things up to the chef, the nigiri omakase, an assortment of five nigiri, doesn’t disappoint, with the ultra-fresh sea bream the real standout. For a decadent finish, the chocolate fondant with peanut brittle, salted caramel and coconut ice cream can do no wrong, while the yuzu crème brûlée (topped with real pansies) is a refreshing and citrusy reinterpretation of the dessert classic.
A few premier crus have made it onto the wine list, although the house white (2018 Fiano, from Puglia) is very easy drinking too. The sake selection has had a lot of thought put into it, with a sparkling option making the cut, while the cocktail menu is divided into five sections: earth (chi), water (sui), fire (ka), wind (fu) and void (ku). Brummell headed to The Malt Lounge to try a Breakfast in Kyoto (bacardi carta negra-infused coffee, salted-caramel syrup, rice milk, chocolate liquor and bitter, matcha foam) from the fire section, a Japanese take on an espresso martini, but served in a cherry blossom-print teacup, topped with ‘cream’ and accompanied by a chocolate biscuit on the side, and the Akatoki Highball (pandan-infused akashi blend whisky, fig liquor, homemade salted-caramel syrup, ginger ale) from the earth category, a delicately sweet long drink topped with dried fig.
Sharing plates with wine and a cocktail for two, £150
Perfect for grabbing sushi at the chef’s counter before heading off to Theatre Land, or a long catch up over several courses in a calm space, with a great little bar to sneak to after.
TOKii at The Prince Akatoki London, 50 Great Cumberland Place, London W1H 7FD; theprinceakatokilondon.com