Part of Circular Quay’s revamped Gateway building (alongside neighbours Popina and Espresso Room), Tokyo Laundry was David Loh’s first move into the Sydney hospitality industry, following his successful Melbourne ventures Dessert Story, Rice Workshop and the popular Bubble Cup.
Head chef Naoki Hozawa (Yoshii, Saké) combines traditional Japanese dishes and techniques with multicultural influences in the menu, which is designed to share.
Sydney rock oysters arrive with a rich umami dressing of yuzu, ponzu and sake, and Kingfish is thinly sliced and served with a sour jalapeno dressing, fresh radish and micro coriander. There’s also Korean fried chicken doused in a sticky, fiery gochu-jang sauce. The kitchen isn’t taking any big risks, but flavours are well balanced.
To drink, there’s a solid sake list, a selection of Japanese wine and beer, and two pages of Japanese whisky. The cocktail list is largely conventional with a twist, like the Old Fashioned spiked with shichimi, a combination of seven spices including chilli, orange peel and black sesame.
The space combines casual dining areas up front with a more formal restaurant space toward the back, overlooking the corporate set on the streets below. It was designed by Melbourne architect EAT. Industrial stone and steel elements contrast with soft purple linens draped between tables, brass and dark timber.