TOKii at The Prince Akatoki Hotel, Marble Arch

The Blurb

I’ve lived in London for 10 years and I rarely (if ever) look at hotels when I’m planning a meal out – especially not 5-star ones. Eager to attract more than just hotel guests, one of Marylebone’s finest hotels, The Prince Akatoki Hotel London, has launched a special 11-course tasting experience. Diners aren’t allowed to see the menu ahead of dining but guests can expect some of the finest sushi and Wagyu beef they’ve ever eaten, and for £100 pp, I’d say it’s a pretty good offer. The catch is that the Omakase Experience is exclusively available at 5pm from Tuesday to Thursday but for this, it’s well worth leaving work a little early.

The Style

The luxury hotel celebrates the art, ritual and elegance of Japanese hospitality, which was evident from the moment I walked in. Although I didn’t see much more than the hotel lobby and restaurant, TOKii, it was enough to tell me that every detail told a story, from the hanging blossom to the delicate fans.

While the lobby is bright and breezy, with brightly coloured flowers, TOKii is a complete contrast, dimly lit with dark marble finishings and very minimal. Purposely so, to allow diners to focus on the quality and ambition of the meals.

For the diners taking part in the Omakase Experience, seats are set up at the sushi counter, in the centre of the restaurant, which makes for a very interactive experience.

The Crowd

The sushi counter seats 6 people. On the day we dined, this was made up of three couples. The rest of the restaurant was empty, due to the time of day we were dining. There were a couple of words spoken between us – discussing how delicious the food was – but mostly, we kept to ourselves. I don’t believe anyone at the counter was actually a guest at the hotel.

The Food

The focus here is quality over quantity. Most of the ‘dishes’ on the 11-course menu are single pieces of nigiri sushi, however, there’s a delicious tuna tartare which is a good few bites. The menu also includes a cocktail, which we were given as soon as we took our seats. It was whiskey-based, with a dash of something peachy and topped with coconut water – super refreshing. After cleansing with a warm towel, our first dish was given to us, a clam broth, which had a surprisingly deep flavour considering it was so thin and clear. Most of the other dishes were presented to us over the sushi counter; half the fun was watching it being prepared. The sushi chefs would delicately mould the sushi rice, cut the buttery soft fish into perfect slices, and sometimes even torch the top adding a delicious smoky flavour. A few of the tastebud tingling dishes you can expect are torched salmon nigiri, seared Wagyu beef (both high up in my favourites), a fresh and crunchy seaweed salad, fatty tuna roll, yellow tail in a soy broth with chilli and crispy fried garlic, and a miso broth. The tenderness of the fish was outstanding, it just melted in your mouth. To finish, we were given a crème brûlée, which had a zesty hit of yuzu that cut effortlessly through the cream.

In a Nutshell

For £100, I think diners are getting a very good offer, especially as sushi is probably the most expensive cuisine of them all. I’ve eaten sushi in many places in London and around the world, and this may have been the best I’ve ever had.

Taking place over one hour, from 5pm – 6pm, the whole experience goes by rather fast, each dish quickly following the other. It’s not something you take your time over, sipping sake and sharing stories, but it is an experience worth doing – perfect for a gift or celebration. If you eat a lot like me, you may be a little hungry by 9:30pm but I certainly left feeling full.

The hotel also offers a Japanese afternoon tea, starting from £48.
50 Great Cumberland Place,
Marble Arch, London, W1H 7FD
0207 724 4700

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