Toko is informal Japanese “izakaya” dining, dark floor boards, heavy teak table, understated, classy but can be noisy. The informal dining extends to large communal tables which works for the restaurant but is generally a challenge for me. For today, that wasn’t so bad as we had a group of four and had pretty much our own space. Going in a group is great because we all get to try a lot more dishes.
|Prawn & vegetable tempura|
The dark ceramic bowls and plates showcase rather than compete with their content. The food is subtle, meat is marinated with a light touch. This is probably best demonstrated by the duck which is lightly marinated and perfectly cooked, a little crispy on the outside, moist and tender inside. The marinated nashi pear on the side is tasty but subtle.
|Duck with marinated nashi pear|
Similarly, the crab has such a light flavour lifted just slightly by the wasabi mayo.
|Soft shell crab with wasabi mayo|
|Beef fillet with sweet sesame soy sauce|
The most stunning dish for me, at least in terms of presentation is the fried tofu topped with a red chilli basket.
The brulee dessert was also stunningly presented and really quite generous. Despite the Asian accent on this dessert, I just couldn’t get past that I was having brulee in an izakaya establishment.
|Brulee: choclate, ginger and green tea|
And I guess it’s the same for chocolate fondant, with or without the miso influence.
|Chocolate fondant with vanilla-miso icecream|
Toko promises relaxed but classy dining and it delivers that in the environment and great relaxed service. The food is well presented and classy. I don’t know if all the hype has raised my expectations to an unrealistic level because I left feeling generally satisfied but still looking for more from Toko.
Toko Restaurant & Bar
490 Crown Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9357 6100