Toko: battlefield

My dining experience at Toko started off on a good, slightly prejudiced note, skewered only by the excellent customer service provided by General Manager Louise who snuck in a vacancy for my companion and I in Toko on a Monday; in order for me to use my groupon 12 course degustation meant for Tokonoma. That's what we need more in the food service industry, accountability, quick response and flexibility. 

The 12 course degustation menu ($99 for 2 with wine) is a whirlwind affair with courses swiftly filling up the tables/ barside counter tops . Whetting the appetite with a avalanche of colors, varied temperatures and contrasting textures.

Spicy Edamame to start. These would have been the perfect match with pint of ice cold beer. Each dredged in  fiery soybean paste type sauce, this fed our moorish appetites from the start to the end of dinner.

The Hirasama no usuzukuri, another pickled like dish in close succession, further teases the appetite. Sliced kingfish, quickly acidity from the yuzu and a shower of chives. This dish had finesse but had its delicate nature undermined by the spicy edamame served before this. Order should be restored.

Sake no miso taru taru

Salmon tartare, wasabi miso, lotus root chips. Another stellar dish that accented Toko's small plate concept that works wonders with casual drinks. The freshness of the salmon (guaranteed by witnessing an entire hotel-pan full of trimmed fish being thrown into the bin by a rather austere looking Japanese chef from my front-row seats) laced with delicate miso forming a perfect marriage with the crispy lotus root chips.

Moving on, a favourite dish of mine would have to be the Spicy Maguro Maki. *eye-rolling* moment ensues. This was soft, beautiful, orgasmic. A mishmash of the sea, spiciness of the land and the masterful pressing of perfectly ratio-ed vinegared rice in one mouthful. Add the crisp tempura crumbed exterior and this leaped  straight into my history books under the headline of 'best maki consumed EVER'.

The next two fillers were a tad forgettable. The Ika no tempura; crispy tempura squid served with soy chili broth was just a tad overcooked, an error we overlooked in favor of its freshness. 

pirikara dofu to avocado. A ridiculously balanced dish with the dabble of barley miso but one that still seems to touch base with Toko's Australian influences with its crown of avocado salsa. The skin of the fried tofu lacked the glutinous stretchy nature of the usual agedashi tofu dishes I've savored before and could have benefited from that textural application for a tad more sophistication.

Another winner was the Butabara Amakara so-su to issho ni (pictured above); Pork belly braised to a sweet sticky black mess meets piquant apple-kizami wasabi relish. They made love and had this beautiful baby. end of story.

By this time of night, our ravenous appetites had been satiated. Our mouthfuls turning to nibbles along with longer tipples of wine. Still, the food arrived at a steady pace, the staff mumbling long elaborate descriptions with each dish, non that I could commit to memory. I just ate.

The kohituji no tsukune kushi was a fine example of the yakitori dishes served at this establishment. Lamb mince balls doused in yakitori glaze with a hot sluice of peppery sauce below. Toko has got the Izakaya style of dining covered. Throw in a couple throw backs of their handpicked sake offerings and you've got a party.

One of the least creative dishes of the lot had to be the wafu zucchini, definitely too pricey for something so mediocre.

We capped off our savoury run with an additional order of Deep fried zucchini flowers, only because my companion never had the fortune of partaking in this delicacy before. Stuffed with a blend of tofu and fetta cheese before hitting the deep-fryers in a light coating of panko crumbs, these weren't over the top. Just a pleasure.

Chef's selection of desserts. A cute box full of desserts a little more orthodox than their savouries but than again I admit... I probably had too much drinks in my system at this point to remember the details. Forgive my abrupt ending.

Toko surely makes for happy nights, but be prepared to feel the burn of empty pockets the following morning.

490 Crown Street
Surry Hills
NSW Australia 2010
+61 29357 6100

Toko Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon


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Meet Sihan

Snap Eat Love is Lee Sihan. 27 going on 28, she is a dessert enthusiast, food nomad, wanderer of lands and a pastry chef currently working in Sydney. Fueled by a lifelong addiction to all things sweet, and a burning desire to travel the globe follow her as she embarks on delicious escapades both in and out of the kitchen

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