First Published February 2011
don’t expect to queue for a restaurant table on a Tuesday night, not unless it has something excellent to offer. However, at around 7:30pm we joined the small, but growing queue, outside Tokyou on Berry Street, the restaurant that has acquired a cult following. After about five minutes we took our seats at the window bar, which allowed for some people watching, and observed mainly disappointed faces as they walked up to the restaurant and saw how busy it was.
Tokyou offers an almost daunting array of dishes including Chinese, Thai and Japanese, and would most fit into the Pan Asian category. Now this is where this review gets into trouble, to have a solid view of the food on offer I’d have to eat their about 25 times, something I could probably cope with even if my waistline couldn’t. Thus we are going to depart from the normal Liverpool Restaurants’ format.
If I want great Chinese food I would go elsewhere, the same can be said for Thai and Japanese; the food here is nice without being anything special. If I was going out for the best Asian food in Liverpool, there are many other places worth visiting. But this isn’t a fair comparison, Tokyou’s strength is the price compared to the quality of food. You can have a good sized meal for £5, or enough food to make you feel uncomfortably full for £15. And this is the key to its success, reasonable food at a very low price, and it goes a fair way to explain the younger, dare I say, studenty looking crowd enjoying all manner of combinations that the menu has to offer. However don’t relegate this food to the level of all you can eat buffet bars, its much better than the tired and flavourless offerings you find under their hot-lights.
In these more financially restricted times its restaurants like Tokyou that should do really well. After our meal, as I walked through town, I passed several other good restaurants with very few diners, as I’d expect on a Tuesday night. Tokyou is clearly bucking this trend not with the best food in town, but possible the best value. I’d recommend a visit, just as long as you’re prepared to queue.