The One With Tokyo Heya – All You Can Eat Japanese

Japanese places are a dime a dozen in Hong Kong. There is just something about Japanese food that is irresistible to Hong Kong-ers. One can find all sorts of Japanese food here – from the low end, hole-in-wall ramen joint to the very high end, thousand-dollar sushi. And then there are those everything in between. So if you eat out at a Japanese place, particularly at those buffet-like eat all you can joints, it can be very much a hit-and-miss experience.

Which is why after a very filling meal at Tokyo Heya, I could honestly say that the food is worth your dimes and time.

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

There were many choices available from the menu, which you order by filling up these multi-colored sheets and pass to the milling waitresses. Tokyo Heya offers almost everything you can think of on a Japanese menu – sashimi, sushi, handroll, teppanyaki, sukiyaki, tempura… the list was endless, so we were spoilt for choice. Instead of stressing ourselves, we asked for the captain to recommend us some of their best recommendations, after which we added some of our own. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss from the menu:

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

Who can say no to this beautiful platter of sashimi? There were every kind of seafood you can imagine – salmon, tuna, yellow tail, scallop, sweet prawn, surf clam, ark shell, herring fish, sliced sea whelk, sea urchin and mackerel fish. The sea urchin actually tasted much better than its watery appearance, especially when eaten with a slice of seaweed. Of particular acclaim was its herring fish and sliced sea whelk. Surprising the salmon wasn’t as sweet as I thought it would be. The only major disappointment was the sweet prawns, which were too tiny to be appreciated one by one.

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

The grilled items were pretty good too, considering the many options available you would think they would be just “generic”. The chicken wings were succulent and juicy, and the lamb was spiced up with some chilli flakes which was a pleasant surprise. I don’t know about you, but I really love to bite into that fatty bit of my lamb. I wish I had the stomach to try out more, but hey there were more for me to sample…

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

Now just check out this gigantic pot of Hokkaido milk sukiyaki, with four huge slices of “fat cow” beef.

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

It took some ten minutes for this pot of beauty to come to boil. The first bowl was delicious – the milky stew paired off with the beef quite nicely, and in that combination it could be quite heavy after a while. The generous helping of vegetables and mushrooms helped to lighten up this hearty concoction, though (like what the other half has predicted) I really KO-ed after my third helping.

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

Sweet clams in clear broth was exactly that. Sweet little clams that weren’t mere empty shells (oh, how I hated that when it happens at seafood places!), and the generous shavings of spring onions set of the taste of the broth quite nicely.

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

This was easily the best dish of the night – fried mushroom stuffed with crab meat. Just the smell of it alone made my mouth water. The pungent aroma of the mushroom contrasted quite nicely with the sweet crab meat, fried to a juicy tenderness that would see a lesser version much too oily. The balance here was just right.

Now, like any other buffet, there were some items which I wish the kitchen could have done better. Now if you are not a big fan of buffet, or don’t want to waste food, you might want to avoid these ones to save up some stomach space:

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

I don’t know why I was so disappointed with this bowl of edamame, the Japanese soybeans. The type at Tokyo Heya was, err, too hairy to my liking, and the pods could have been drained better so your fingers won’t get so wet with juice with each bite. I also prefer it to be in smaller size, I suppose it looks less vulgar that way. But I am a big fan of edameme so I devoured almost the entire bowl anyway.

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

The king prawn tempura came as a surprise to me. Though it looked alright, but I reckon the prawns itself were not as fresh as it should be, rendering the meat tasting plain. The bland batter didn’t help its taste either, so I had to dip the whole thing into my wasabi multiple times.

Tokyo Heya Japanese Eat All You Can

And then there was a selection of sushi. After tasting all kind of different sushi rice, I decided that I prefer those firm, whiter ones. The sushi at Tokyo Heya was soft and a little sour, though the wasabi did help. But then again this was a personal preference I suppose.

For $188 per pax, with unlimited refills of sake, beer (there were the usual Japanese suspects like Sapporo and Kirin) and soft drinks, the Tokyo Heya eat-all-you-can (within two hours) dinner is a great value of money. I could just imagine myself hanging out at the terrace seating during winter, with a bubbling pot of sukiyaki, warm sake and a giant plate of sashimi. It wasn’t “up there” per say when it comes to Japanese food, but it’s certainly reasonable for a night of gluttony, Japanese style.

Note: This was an invited tasting session, in conjunction with the announcement of Groupon’s “Groupies Choice – Best Restaurant 2013“, in which Tokyo Heya was voted winner in the “Sashimi” category.

Tokyo Heya

4/F Ashley Centre
23-25 Ashley Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2918 1388


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