I have pretty awesome friends! This past weekend I got to sample Japanese food at Toyokey Restaurant in Sebele Mall. I was pretty excited but a little worried because I expected it to be ridiculously expensive given the location and the fact that it is the sole Japanese restaurant in Botswana. The Chinese restaurants run the Asian cuisine scene here.
We were received by a waitress at the door and lead to a table near the bar area. The restaurant is fairly small but clean and well designed. The walls are decorated with Japanese paintings and pictures and bamboo sticks. Even the beverage fridge has some Japanese art on it. There was some Japanese music playing in the background and for those who desire privacy there is a room you can book for a large group of guests. Because the restaurant is small, getting the attention of a waitress is really easy and the one we had was very attentive and polite.
Food wise their main specialty is sushi. They had quite a lot of sushi dishes with varied seafood including salmon, shrimp, tuna and eel. They also have various starters, noodle dishes (ramen included) and platters that include a little of everything. I initially wanted to try their dumplings however they weren’t available so we decided to get a platter (called the Tokyo something….my memory is horrible), crispy salmon california sushi rolls (The salmon skin is fried I think so it isn’t raw, ideal for those not willing to eat raw fish) and Miso soup with egg noodles and pork. We were taken aback by the ridiculous amount of food that came! It was quite a lot! In hindsight we should have just ordered the platter alone. It had 6 separate dishes that could be comfortably shared between 2 people. Every time we thought our waitress was done bringing the dishes she’d bring another one. The platter consisted of 2 pieces of calamari tempura, a cold noodle dish with additions I couldn’t identify, 8 pieces of sushi, a bowl of rice, fried pork, fried vegetables and a small bowl of miso soup.
The miso soup with pork was enough to fill both of us up quite well. This was my favourite dish after the sushi. I have no idea how the pork was made but it tasted awesome! It seemed like it was roasted a little then added to the soup but I’m not sure. I would love to attempt to recreate miso soup but from my online research I can see that finding ingredients will be a huge problem. I will try the chinese grocery stores to see if they have some of the ingredients , however I’m not holding my breath and I suspect I’ll have to just buy it when I want it.
We didn’t even manage to finish the dish! The manager (I assume, a Japanese lady) spotted us struggling a little with the chopsticks and kindly came to assist.She even offered forks in case we preferred them but we opted to keep working with the chopsticks.
I managed to taste a little of everything despite how full I was.
The Calamari tempura was the only dish I didn’t like, it tasted a little “wet” and the calamari was bland.
I have never tasted anything like the dish above so it’s hard to describe it. The white bits were crunchy and seemed to have been deep fried and the noodles were in some kind of cold sauce.
The highlight of the meal hands down was the sushi! When you look at it you don’t expect the elements to work but when it’s in your mouth it’s delicious. My friend doesn’t like avocado but didn’t mind it in the sushi at all, in fact, you could barely taste it because all the flavors worked together very well. Below is a picture taken with my camera of the sushi that was left over.
The total cost for a platter (which was 160 and was also the cheapest platter on the menu), sushi (which costs about 50/60 pula), sake (45 pula a jug) and the miso soup with pork was just over 300 pula (about 350 I think). Not overly expensive and way more than enough for two, I still have left overs in the fridge. They are of course expensive dishes on the menu (some as high as 140) however if you select wisely you shouldn’t find yourself spending too much. The menu explains every dish clearly in English for those who want to know exactly what the dishes have. The waitresses are also able to explain the dishes to some extent.
Overall it was awesome and I would definitely go again!