In Japanese folklore, tanuki is a mischievous yokai (spirit), whose likeness you might see standing outside izakayas all over the country. Drank too much last night? The racoon dog with the sake bottle and ground-sweeping gonads made you do it.

He's also a shapeshifter, making him a fitting namesake for this versatile bar and diner by Adam Abrams and Eddie Levy, the team behind nearby Matteo. Perch at the sushi counter and robata grill and watch the chefs in action; settle into the dining room for a refined dinner; or go casual with sake and snacks in Tanuki’s courtyard.

The menu here goes big on premium produce such as Wagyu beef, sourced from both local and Japanese farms. You could try it in crispy-skinned gyoza, or as a premium sando. We say try it the traditional Japanese way: with sea salt, wasabi paste, teriyaki and miso-laced mustard.

But wait, Tanuki says you need a drink! Go for a seasonal highball – perhaps with Suntory whisky, green tea and mango. Or a stiff house creation like the Saketini, stirring Four Pillars Navy Strength gin, cherry umeshu and Houraisen sake from Japan’s Aichi prefecture.

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Updated: April 5th, 2024

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