Toko Restaurant and Bar - Surry Hills
A key player in the rise of izakaya dining, Toko has raised the bar when it comes to enjoying a Japanese-inspired meal in elegant surrounds.
Described as contemporary Japanese and designed around a share-style menu, Toko draws heavily on traditional Japanese bar food with a deft, modern twist. Dishes include tuna tartare, wagyu gyoza and sweet eggplant miso, along with shaved bonito fried quail and miso-mustard lamb rump.
But it’s the sashimi and sushi dishes that stay with you. Prepared at the sushi counter (at which you can also sit), the well-lit show is part of the dining experience. Omakase (chef’s fish selection of the day) lays out the best of everything aquatic and arrives as an eye-catching way to try the finest fish currently on offer. Fish are line-caught and delivered fresh daily, making this some of the best sashimi in town. There’s also a charcoal robata grill for sweet corn with wasabi butter or ginger-soy chicken options.
The tasting menu takes these difficult decisions out of your hands, with dishes arriving one after another in a gentle parade of flavours.
The building itself dates back to 1908 and the interior focuses on this, delivering a stripped-back feel and directing your attention to the food rather than complex décor. The private dining room, hidden far down the back and panelled off with vertical timbre louvres, has a sunken central table with a roomy drop in the floor beneath, to recreate a Japanese dining experience but still allowing for Western legs.
And don’t forget Toko Bar, neatly tucked around the front corner of the restaurant, where you might end up waiting for your seat at Toko Restaurant if the night is busy. But you can order the full menu here too and the Reni Kung light feature casts a moody glow over it all.