Can a new Soho Garden bar attract the party tribe?
Without having been to Tokyo, one can only imagine what the vibe is like. We picture cool artistic-types dressed head-to-toe in the latest understated fashion, stylishly shuffling under the glow of neon lights. In a way, that’s what we find in one third of Soho Garden’s newest openings, Tokyo Vibes.
The new bar opened after Ramadan, at the same time as brasserie Glasshouse by Soho and warehouse-style club, Code. Tokyo Vibes is described as a Japanese eatery and bar, and serves up Asian-inspired bites.
We’re the first to arrive but the vibe is cool with easy listening house music at a respectable level (which gradually increases as the night goes on). There’s one main bar area and several booths for groups. Behind the DJ booth are more tables, reserved for the big spenders to cast an eye over the crowd below.
The menu features a few familiar dishes for fans of Japanese cuisine, but each with their own unique modern twist. The tuna pizza (Dhs90) is a favourable starter although the presentation is wayward. There’s a thin and crispy base, topped with slices of raw tuna and sprinklings of foliage under a spicy teriyaki sauce.
We were desperate to try their chicken gyoza (Dhs60) and it didn’t disappoint. One side of each gyoza was fried to a crisp, giving a well balanced texture against the soft and juicy chicken filling.
Another dish worth trying is the salmon carpaccio (Dhs75). The accompanying truffle ponzu sauce subtly infuses the slivers of raw fish, while each bite is counteracted with a segment of sharp orange citrus.
Out of two of the maki rolls we tried crunch shrimp (Dhs95) and salmon passion (Dhs75), the former came out on top due to its innovative textures and mix of spicy and sweet. However both could have benefited from more punchy flavours.
Ending things on a sweet note we opt for the chocolate fondant (Dhs50) which is unusually (although perhaps not in Tokyo) paired with matcha ice cream. The two compliment each other nicely, and the oozing cocoa centre provided the perfect hot-to-cold ratio as so many great desserts have.
Tokyo Vibes, Soho Garden, Meydan Racecourse Grandstand, Tue to Sun, 8pm to 3am. Tel: (052) 388 8849. sohogardendxb.com