Since being introduced to Tokonoma by Mark Communications, I have strangely been finding myself at Toko (Tokonoma’s sister restaurant) for birthdays, date nights, and other outings. The trendy decor, delectable drinks and top-notch menu makes it the perfect place for many things.
Before I go on, for those who aren’t familiar with the Toko restaurants, I’ll just clarify that there are three establishments. Toko Restaurant & Bar is an izakaya style dining experience, where as Toko Paddington is a classier version of sushi train. Then there’s Tokonoma which is more of a bar and lounge type restaurant that sits right beside its sister, Toko Restaurant & Bar. The architecture is stunning at all three.
On this particular night, eight of us are at Toko to celebrate Xiaohan‘s birthday.
We decide to share a selection of small dishes and then order our own main course.
We start with bowls of edamame ($6.30) which are simply sprinkled with Maldon sea salt crystals; next we have the soft shell crab karaage. The soft shell crab is deliciously crunchy and the wasabi mayonnaise it is served with brightens the bite.

Toko restaurant and bar, Surry Hills Sydney - edamame beans and soft shell crab

The tuna tartar ($16.40) is perhaps my most favourite dish at Toko, served with baby shiso leaves, barley miso dressing and long sweet potato crisps which we use as spoons to scoop the tuna. I love the contrasting textures in this. It is creamy and crunchy all at the same time.

Toko restaurant and bar, Surry Hills Sydney - tuna tartar, baby shiso leaves and barley miso dressing

Other small dishes we share are dengaku nasu, a blissful binding of roast eggplant and miso ($12.80); the spare ribs with sweet soy chilli ($18.80); and Japanese mushroom skewers with soy honey butter ($9.90).

Toko restaurant and bar, Surry Hills Sydney - small dishes from the kitchen, dengaku nasu, sweet eggplant miso with sesame seeds, $12.80; spare ribs with sweet soy chilli

The drinks menu at Toko will keep you going all night. There are 7 cleansing mocktails including a shojo mary ($8) – a wicked twist on the bloody mary, featuring pungent kimchi and shichimi pepper! Although, I always start with the zaksan ($8) which is fragrant with lychees, pink grapefruit and genmaicha (green tea with roasted rice). On the alcohol side of things, there are over 30 varieties of sake plus a list of shochu tonics with seasonal flavours like figs and kumquats.

Toko restaurant and bar, Surry Hills Sydney - sakyo-miso marinated black cod, $30.80

I haven’t been very creative with my ordering lately so predictably share the sakyo-miso marinated black cod ($30.80) and the duck breast ($28.80) with Zen. Rice is a whooping $4!
The cod is wonderfully glazed in sakyo-miso, producing a light earthy sweetness. The texture is as it should be, rich and buttery with firm flakes.

Toko restaurant and bar, Surry Hills Sydney - bowl of rice, $4

The duck is also perfectly cooked – the outside is well-caramelised and the inside is tender and pink. I love the pickled nashi pear and sasho pepper that it is served with.

Toko restaurant and bar, Surry Hills Sydney - duck breast, sansho pepper and picked nashi pear, $28.80

For dessert, I have the kokutou pear and white chocolate spring rolls ($12.80) served with sesame brittle and nashi pear sorbet! OMG, it is so awesome, I highly recommend ordering this! X has the Greek yoghurt pannacotta ($13.20) with green apple, rockmelon sorbet and pistachio brittle. The presentation of her’s is breathtaking.

Toko restaurant and bar, Surry Hills Sydney - dessert of yoghurt pannacotta to lockmeron - greek yoghurt pannacotta, green apple, rockmelon sorbet and pistachio brittle, $13.20

Toko restaurant and bar, Surry Hills Sydney - pari pari nashi no harumaki, kokutou pear and white chocolate spring rolls served with sesame brittle and nashi bear sorbet, $12.80

While not cheap, what you pay for is a guaranteed good night out!

View Larger Map
Toko
490 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW
Phone: (02) 9357 6100
Web: www.toko.com.au

Toko on Urbanspoon

  • Who can resist perfectly cooked duck? Looks great – always reassuring to have a fool-proof venue for celebratory meals.

  • It really is a great venue and the food is always a top notch standard.

  • Mango, white chocolate and almond cigars

    Mangoes are one of summer’s greatest delights so it was only natural that it became the focus of a recent cooking challenge I took part in at a friend’s place. Similar to the way Iron Chef works, we each had…