Torissong is Jinwook Park’s first solo gig. The Korean-born chef was senior sous chef at Sofitel’s No35 for seven years, and prior to that demi-chef de partie at Shane Delia’s Maha.
The Queensberry Street eatery is true to Japanese philosophy: uncomplicated, with industrial elements, black and blonde timber, and a 13-seat bar in the centre of the room.
Park says the relatively small space – compared with his former workplaces – is a chance to prepare more accessible food, and build a personal connection with his guests.
“Every chef’s dream is to do what they want to do. I just want to try by myself,” Park says. “I want to really get honest feedback about how [people] are feeling about my food.”
Sticky yakitori skewers are the speciality here, made using Hazeldene chicken, farmed just west of Bendigo. The yakitori menu is broken down into cuts – skin, neck, oyster, breast, drumstick, thigh and wing – with a choice of sea salt or tare, a semi-sweet Japanese dipping sauce.
Park even named the restaurant after them (tori means game bird, usually chicken) and song in English loosely translates to “birdsong”. The logo is a chicken playing piano. He says it was a bit of a spontaneous move.
“I know it sounds strange,” Park says, smiling. “But I just named [it].”
A robata grill churns out deftly charred vegetables and seafood, such as sweet potato with butter and black salt, and king prawns with miso and rayu, a type of chilli oil.
Park’s experience in contemporary French cuisine is most evident in his ramen broth. It’s developed like a consommé and is more delicate in flavour than is traditional. The Shoyu ramen is clean, clear chicken broth with wood ear mushrooms, garlic chives and a soft-boiled egg. A yuzu kosho ramen is lighter still, and a vegan ramen sees more of those robatayaki vegetables.
French influence appears again in desserts; matcha ice-cream with peanut praline, and earl grey panna cotta topped with honeycomb and vanilla tuile.
Park designed the menu with drinking in mind, so you’ll be encouraged to order from the Japanese-heavy wine and beer list. There’s also a solid selection of sake, and if you ask Park, he might lead you to some off-menu options.
Shop 2, 143 Queensberry Street, Carlton
0430 554 271
Tue to Thu 11.30am–3.00pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm
Fri 11.30am–3.00pm, 5.30pm–11.30pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on September 12, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.