Smithfield has come a long way from being the dusty horse market hot spot it was back in the day.
Now when you hop off the Luas at Smithfield you’re greeted with the likes of the Lighthouse Cinema, Proper Order Coffee, Token, and of course the illustrious Jameson Distillery. So it’s no surprise that I can confidently say Smithfield is now home to some of the nicest (and most well priced!) Japanese food in Dublin.
Tokyo Kitchen opened its doors early this year and has already made itself a must-visit Dublin haunt. Granted, it’s not the easiest place to find, but once you spot it you truly can’t miss it - the art on the outside of the building is spectacular.
Its neighbor, Kish Fish, is a seafood wholesaler that provides Tokyo Kitchen with their regional fare. It’s literally transferred from the sea, to Kish Fish, then sent next door where it’s whipped up by the Tokyo Kitchen chefs. You can’t really get much more fresh than that!
When you walk up to Tokyo Kitchen, you will quickly notice there is no seating. Anywhere. It consists of a cute little counter where you order, and the kitchen behind. That’s it. Needless to say, it’s strictly take-away, which during this cracking summer weather is the perfect excuse for a picnic! And, get this - their wait space is air conditioned for comfort, a SERIOUS rarity in Dublin.
Despite their small size, their menu is actually enormous. They have everything from sushi to noodles to curries and offer a rotating menu of weekly specials.
Being a certified foodie, I couldn’t just pick one dish to try, so I bought myself a beautiful spread to take home and eat in my garden.
First up I knew I wanted to try a sushi roll, so I went for the King Prawn Tempura Roll (€13), complete with Hop 13 batter, fish roe & avocado. If you aren’t familiar with Hop 13, it is a Guinness lager, meaning that the prawns in this sushi are fried with beer batter - Un. Freaking. Real.
The quality of the fish, rice and seaweed came across immediately. They were undeniably orchestrated for some prime sushi. But the tempura seriously stole the show - it was perfectly crisped yet melted away in your mouth. One of the nicest sushi rolls I’ve had in Dublin, and SERIOUSLY filling - this alone could easily be your lunch!
Next I took a dive into the Seafood & Prawn Noodles (€8.50). I want my noodles to be thick but soft with a mild flavor and these hit the spot perfectly.
This dish was surprisingly light despite the noodles being dense and the seafood was cooked to perfection, another melt in your mouth creation. Chock full of veg so you feel less guilty, and can easily be refrigerated and made into leftovers to binge on after a night out on the sesh.
Next up on my roster was the Chicken Katsu Curry (€8), which I’ve noticed is especially popular on Dublin menus, and let me tell you - this is one of the best. It’s a dirty, dirty dish - an absolute must order for people of all sobriety levels. I audibly said “Holy S***” with my mouth full upon first bite. The rice is fluffy, the the curry was flavorful, the potatoes and carrots were perfectly cooked - my only qualm was that I wanted the outside of the chicken to be crispier, but the chicken itself was so good I let it slide. Will most definitely be coming back to eat this bad boy.
And last but not least, I tucked in to their weekly sushi platter special. This week offered 4 pieces of norimaki, 3 pieces of nigiri, and 2 pieces of haddock tempura in a coriander batter for €11. A bargain if you ask me! The coriander haddock tempura was absolutely insane. I would have easily eaten an entire plate full of it and I desperately wish they would offer it as an everyday menu item. The nigiri was fresh but had gotten a little warm by the time I had gotten home, so maybe make sure to eat the nigiri first if you order it. The norimaki tasted notably fresh but wasn’t very exciting, however if you love a simple sushi then this is definitely for you. Overall I enjoyed it. It wasn’t my favourite of the lot but I would definitely order one of their specials again.
I should mention that all of these lovely dishes were accompanied by sriracha mayo, wasabi mayo, and soy sauce that Tokyo Kitchen very generously offers for free. Nobody wants to pay €1-2 for extra mayo (even though let’s be real - we’ve all done it.) Overall, I paid €42.50 for four dishes, four sauces, and two drinks. You can EASILY feed four people with all of the food I ordered (I ended up calling in reinforcements to help me finish everything) so this place does not break the bank by any means.
Tokyo Kitchen is open Mon - Sat on Bow Street in Smithfield, 11am - 4pm. Come hungry, leave with an incredible meal and your bank account’s dignity.