Little Tokyo is less a traditional restaurant than the other two presented in my ‘Brussels’ Little Asia’ series. But let’s begin from the start. Little Tokyo is located on the corner of two streets on Place Saint-Boniface. The big windows, the light interior and the cosy lightning and decoration are very inviting. Plus, I am a big fan of the blue and white tiles on the floor.
Skipping alcohol that day, Lara and I both ordered a ginger tea and had a quick look at the menu. Gyoza, sashimi, ramen and rice bowls, but also a number of more creative dishes can be ordered at Little Tokyo. Antonio the chef became main chef of the restaurant not too long ago, but you can clearly see from the menu and the arrangements of the dishes that he likes to experiment and is a very visual person, enjoying to play with colours and ingredients.
First: The way the food is arranged is lovely. Our first dish was sashimi of swordfish with pink cauliflower, pickled radish and wasabi vinaigrette covering our plates in a mixture of different flashy colours. The ingredients sounded very fancy, but I would’ve liked the wasabi vinaigrette to have a stronger, more remarkable taste and the pink cauliflower was a nice addition, but unfortunately lacking taste a bit. The next dish was very tender octopus, which was boiled for several hours and then briefly fried until slightly crispy. It was served with a feta cream sauce together with sautéed shiitake mushrooms that were marinated in vinaigrette before. This was without doubt my favourite dish, which also is one of Antonio’s signature dishes. The main dish was a piece of very tender seabream in dashi foam with cockles. I liked this one, but there were only three cockles on my plate of which one was empty. Also the veggies that came with the fish could’ve been slightly more tender in my opinion. The dessert was (together with the octopus) my favourite part of the dinner. Homemade citrus sorbet, with candied pineapple, mocha ice cream stripes (you could drown me in those!) and meringue crumbles.
To summarize, I think that the food here is well thought-through and one can certainly spot a concept behind it, but for me some dishes could use more spices, that special “something”.
Overall, this is a nice place with some innovative dishes and some more classical ones (which I didn’t try though), nice service and a simple but well designed interior. I also think it has changed and improved over the past two years that it exists already.
I am just a bit torn about how to classify this place. On the one hand, the dishes feel a bit like “fine dining” with smaller portions, very nicely arranged and good quality ingredients. On the other hand, the place feels more like a chill out spot to have a lunch at or a spontaneous dinner with friends on a week’s evening. Well, I guess you have to try yourself! Since last week they also have a new menu, so I’m curious to see what’s on there.
Good to know:
Price: 6.50-10€ for starters, 14-21€ for main dishes
Address: Rue Saint-Boniface 15, 1050 Ixelles