It’s not often venue owners completely reinvent their restaurants, never mind doing it three times. For Edward Howell it’s just part of running a venue. “You always need to be changing; you have to be on the pulse of what everyone wants,” he says.
Howell, together with his new business partner Dan Shipley, has given Tori Bar (which was formerly Bar Racuda, one of Enmore’s first small bars) a makeover, a new name and a slightly different concept. It’s now a yakitori bar called Mr Roboto, named after the 1980s song by the band Styx where the focus is on drinks first, food second.
The space doesn’t look too different to before – the glowing kanji-inscribed lanterns and the Japanese-style timber frame, reminiscent of a pagoda, remain. New additions include a giant ’80s-style graffiti mural by local artists, and the bar stools and tables have replaced the casual seating. “I always think of this place as having a Roppongi-style vibe that’s kind of trashy but nice, and where you can have a lot fun,” Shipley says.
The pair has kept the in-house robata grill, which is used for skewers of chicken skin, chicken hearts and other giblets.
For drinks there is a selection of high-grade sake and some provocatively named cocktails, which Shipley hopes will “embarrass some Tinder dates”. For example the You Can Leave Your Hat On Captain, which is made with Captain Morgan rum, Disaronno and apple. There are also small-batch natural wines, mostly from local producers, which will change based on availability.
105 Enmore Road, Enmore
(02) 9519 1121
Wed to Sun 5pm–12am