Subject alway to the enforced Covid hiatus, Cardiff Market has really blossomed over the last few years in terms of places to get a decent lunch. We have Franks, Thai & Asian Delish, Sage Deli, Masala Hut, Ffwrnes, Tukka Tuk (to name but a few) and to that list you can now add Tokyo Nights.
The later brings the promise of Japanese street food to the market and increases my already blossoming lunchtime options, now I am back in the gulag (mean office) more.
Situated on the ground floor of the Cardiff’s indoor market (turn right as you come in from the Hayes side), it is a tiny unit – barely big enough room to swing a Hello Kitty/for a premiership football to play keepy uppy kitty.
The menu is currently limited to a variety of gyozas,
with the option of chicken and pork prawn and vegetable (latter look more like cappelletti/mandu than what I associate – probably wrongly- with the gyoza shape and are vegan – if that floats your boat).
Shame that, as love a good yakatori, but it seems a much more robust extraction unit would be required than that in place.
The space they are located in (it really is tiny) and (I suspect) the cost of the same prohibits the required upgrade for yakatori cooking.
Back to what is (rather than won’t be) on offer, a mate and I from work shared 5 of the prawn (£7.50)
and 8 of the chicken and pork gyoza (£10).
Really enjoyed these, with the always pleasing gyoza soft top and crispy caramelised bottom contrast and well flavoured fillings.
The prawn one, had a nice thin shell, a good amount of sweet tender prawn and crunchy veggies, with a lovely hit of ginger and garlic.
The chicken and pork ones, I think were even better,
with the pork adding fatty flavour and lubrication to the chicken mix and again there was a nice hit of ginger and garlic as well as a touch of sweetness and nutty sesame. These to me were the more robust yin to the delicate prawn’s yang
Both came with a ponzu dipping sauce, which had a lighter taste than soy (taste buds must be shot as thought was a good quality light soy), kewpie mayo (no skimping on ingredients here and good for the veggies/vegans), chilli oil (quite mild, even for a chilli wuss like me) and micro herbs.
All very moreish,
we finished the lot in double quick time and instantly wanted more (but resisted the temptation, just, to order more).
You can eat on the run (tricky with the dipping sauce) or at the seating opposite their little cubby hole (or upstairs on the mezzanine level). We settled on the space opposite.
On the drinks front, they have the usual soda suspects
Didn’t try these (next time, perhaps, as quite fancied the yuzu number) as had a coffee from Hardlines
to warm the cockles on what was a cold day.
If I was at home with these gyoza, drinks wise I think one of these
would work well.
Great addition to Cardiff market, which increasingly offers a positive cornicopia of lunchtime delights from across the globe. Tokyo Nights is very much the cherry (blossom – very Tokyo and Japan in general) on the cake in terms of these lunchtime options.
My only slight qualm (tight arse coming out) is the pricing may put a few off. £10 for the 8 takes you not that far off Asador 44 menu del dia territory, but you can alway share and I was happy enough (size well and definitely flavour wise) with my share of the 13 we ordered (especially as my mate paid – he owned me a tenner).
Maybe offer 3 for a fiver, as a third option, but it may well be that the hirata buns will fill that price point (noticed these are £6 at their Barry site according to website)?
Just feel something priced around the £5 – £6 mark would be likely to drawn in more punters.
Would I go back? Definitely, really nice flavours on display here and I look forward to the hirata buns arriving.
Perhaps once they have bedded down, a bigger (yakatori capable) pitch might beckon.
The old B.R. Donnelly (rather miss those cheaps as chips faggots and peas) unit (213 – 217),
which currently appears to be a defunked (never seen it open) purveyor of pierogi, perhaps? Actually scrub that, as seems the pierogi place is opening soon.
Address: Unit 39, North Row, Ground Floor, Cardiff Market.