Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Toko Japanese Restaurant, Surry Hills

When you say Japanese there are a few places that come to mind. One in particular though stands out above the rest. Toko. One of our favourite restaurants where we have spent many a night eating and boozing away.
Toko is one of those really effortlessly cool restaurants. Moody lights, long communal tables, the large open kitchen and of course the awesome cocktails all make for a beautiful dining experience. More often then not there is a long wait for tables, with their no-bookings policy. This has never deterred us as on most occasions we found ourselves annihilating the cocktail list as we wait on the bar. The cocktail list here is something else - utilising hard hitting but flavoursome japanese sochu and endless sake options. One of my favourite visits involved sake bombs with the staff as G and I perched over the bar.
Throughout the BB years (Before Blog) we frequented this place so much that the hostess started to recognise us and told us she worried about us during the weekends we didn't turn up. Funnily enough, we got seated so much quicker those days! So yes, after many Toko nights we have become quite familiar with the cocktail menu and of course an absolute favourite is the Saru Caprioska $18.00. Pineapple, lemon wedges and lots of clear spirits served in a beaker. It really does go down too easily. On this night we also settled on a Japanese beer - Yebisu $10.00
As well as having really good drinks, the food at Toko is amazing. In particular the sushi. Its the menu that kept us coming back here and the quality of food has remained consistent on every visit. On this night  we ordered some California Maki $15.80 which as expected was amazing. Perfectly presented and super fresh, these small rolls had blue spanner crab and avocado. And its real crab, none of this seafood extender rubbish!
Round One - the Rolls.

Spider Maki $16.80 is another sushi staple here at Toko. Coming straight from the kitchen with the soft shell crab still steaming. It's hard not to be impressed by the presentation and how meticulous it seems the way things are put together. Shame when it takes all but 10 seconds or so to undo all that handiwork.
After having satisfied our cravings for sushi it was time to get into the business end of things and get into some sashimi. There was a bit of craving for some fish so the sashimi platter was the only way to go. 
 Sashimi Platter - 10 pieces  $25.80. A nice big and simple bowl full of ice was brought forth adorned with the chef's selection of sashimi. On this occasion we had king fish, salmon and perch. This presentation was elegance to a T, and the sashimi? The Freshest servings without a doubt.
With sashimi the freshness of the fish does all the talking and that's all that needs to be said. As with everything at Toko, teach sashimi portion is fresh and well presented and you can't really go wrong.

 Pork Belly $13.80 is a must have when at Toko. Sweet and juicy pork cooked over an open grill, the smell of which floats around the dining area. One of the best spots is to sit on the bar right in front of where the chefs cook off. Even if you aren't hungry the smell alone is enough to get a voracious appetite going. 
 Prawn Tempura $19.80 was also on the cards on this evening. Fat juicy prawns cooked in the lightest and crispiest of tempura batters. So good especially because they aren't soggy. Nothing like soggy tempura to ruin a night out. Yes it does get that serious here at the Empty Fridge. 
 Obligatory Happy Snaps because we are always happy at the Empty Fridge. No its all a facade. I really had lemon in my eyes. 
Communal dining tables, open kitchen, the smell of food wafting around all make for a great dining atmosphere. Despite it's size there is a buzz in Toko that just makes it a fun restaurant to dine in. 
 So after what can only be said to be yet another fantastic meal at Toko it was time to order some desert. Banana Rice Pudding Dessert $12.80 was the winner for this evening. But wait, did I forget to mention that this was yet another birthday dinner!?
 Wow candle and all. I think that the rule is that every food outing is a birthday dinner from the month of September through to November. But enough shenanigans lets talk about the desert. It was really really good. A deconstructed rice pudding if you can call it that or an amalgamation of different bits and pieces that were all delicious. Grilled banana, a serve of warm pandan and banana rice pudding, banana custard and some tiny fried donuts.
Toko will always be a destination for elegant and delicious Japanese food. It is the perfect venue for a date night, birthday or just any regular night where you may need some delicious Japanese food and a cocktail or five.

So tell us friends of the fridgers - do you have a favourite Japanese restaurant?

Toko Japanese Restaurant, Surry Hills, NSW

Toko on Urbanspoon


Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

I absolutely love this place also! From the atmosphere, to the food, to the customer service - it all makes It a lovely dining experience. I love the quality of the food and the produce that they use. It definitely shows in the dishes! This has definitely got to be one of the favorite Japanese restaurants I've been too!

Otherwise for a cheap and cheerful feed I enjoy menya mappen in the city, and Kagen sake house in newington ;)

Anonymous said...

Mouth-watering presentation of the dishes! What's the layer outside the sushi rolls, rice paper?

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Adore the beaker! Love going to Toko when I'm feeling cashed up (not so much otherwise... Sushi Suma anyone?)
Love all your happy snaps!

Nic@diningwithastud said...

OMG Those pork belly skewers look amazeballs! We went to Tokonoma recently and totally loved it. Such a funky little place with amazing food.
Lol at the staff getting worried when you didnt turn up haha

MissPiggy said...

I'm going here in a few weeks - everything looks soooo good!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

mm makes me want to go back again :) they do have such a delicious array of cocktails! never had their banana rice pudding dessert but my gosh it sounds moreish
fav jap restaurant is probably Azuma since it's simple non-fancy jap food with great flavours

Anonymous said...

I've never been to toko but I always go to tokonoma! I love the cocktails there, esp. the one with amazing fairy floss on top.... yum!

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

I <3 Toko food and I <3 their cocktails!!!!!

Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said...

Thanks Guys :)

I love Toko as much as I love delayed birthday celebrations!

magi said...

Very good! I think that you have done a great job! FANTASTIC!!!!
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