Tokyo Bistro aims to reproduce the techniques and innovations of the fine-dining world, but with the prices and atmosphere of an izakaya (an informal Japanese pub). Inside, there’s a soundtrack of jazz, dimmed lighting, emerald leather banquette seating with simple timber tables in the front, and a bar overlooking the kitchen. It’s an old-style French restaurant design that’s been given a modern edge.
Chef Yoshitaka Kojima’s clever menu is full of ideas. Most dishes are based on recognisable Japanese recipes, but with added flair thanks to the molecular gastronomy influences he picked up at Dinner by Heston.
There’s a technique-heavy seven-course degustation for a reasonable $65, but there are also beer-friendly bar snacks such as fried chicken with yuzu mayo, for those wanting a more classic izakaya experience. If you’re solo at the bar you can still get one of the deg courses, or you can opt for a drink (a Japanese whisky seems appropriate) and maybe a fillet of Tasmanian salmon seasoned with dehydrated cherry-blossom salt, wasabi cream and tororo kombu (shredded kelp that’s softened in vinegar).