Ikoi Tei – a labour of love

Situated on the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, Colombo 01, Ikoi Tei serves you a taste of authentic Japanese cuisine right in the heart of Colombo.

The restaurant offers a laid-back dining experience, complete with a private dining area which can accommodate 12 persons, a Teppanyaki table for eight, and a fully functioning bar.

Dinner time, starting 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. offers an a la carte menu bursting with traditional Japanese options, tempura, steamed and stir-fried dishes, sushi, noodles, soba, soup and more.

We tried a few options from their new lunch menu; starting 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. a set menu is offered for lunch and this is greatly appreciated, considering lunch is barely a leisurely activity.

If you wish to grab a quick bite and also enjoy your company while not having to worry about which salad you’re going to pick, then simply choose something out from the restaurants extensive array of choices.

What we tried
All very pleasant, delicious portions of refreshing elements coming together, signalling the fantastic meal to come; we had absolutely no complaints.
Potato Mochi – Cheesy Mashed potato cake with Wasabi Sweet soy sauce
Edamame – Snow peas with a pleasant new twist; added spice.
Maguro Carpaccio – Chopped tuna tower with Spicy Mayo

The mains were all quite filling, each dish progressively feeling larger than the other, the dishes had many of us swearing up and down there’s no way this was meant for one person.
The sushi combo and the special nigiri combo was exactly what one would expect from a combo platter.
Hilton Colombo General Manager Manesh Fernando quite happily informed us that hot night roll is their fastest moving item, very popular amongst diners and unsurprisingly so. Packed with tempura prawn, avocado topped with spicy sauce it’s an unbeatable combination.
We also had the pleasure of trying the Soft Shell crab burger and the Chicken Okonomiyaki which is cabbage and chicken, a little too saucy for our taste but that’s just on personal preference.
Of all the mains however, the real winner was the Yakisoba fried noodles which came with an omelette topping. Perfectly designed for the Sri Lankan palate, it’s a massive portion of delectable goodness.

Daifukumochi – Japanese rice cake made with special glutinous rice filled with sweet or savoury paste.
We tried three kinds of Daifukumochi: Black sesame, matcha and mango.
The matcha flavour was an easy highlight, filled with red bean paste, it tasted heavenly.

Ambience and service
Ikoi Tei is a great place to relax and have a comfortable meal, the atmospheric lighting was quite dark and if you wanted to get some work done, you may want to pick one of the outdoor seating options.
As is usually the case with the restaurants at the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, the washrooms are outside the restaurants, a bit of walk towards the public ones situated to the side of the courtyard.

Ikoi Tei is Japanese chef Hikaru Takahashi’s brainchild; it’s quite evidently a labour of love, as chef himself is deeply invested in his diner’s experience.

Chef Takahashi said: “I go to Negombo myself to get the fish that we prepare in our restaurant,” adding also that; “sushi is a skill, and while you may be using the same ingredients, it will not all taste the same unless it is prepared skilfully.”

Number: 0112 441 275
Address: Old Dutch Hospital Complex, Colombo 1

By Dimithri Wijesinghe

Photos Pradeep Dambarage