Saturday, June 5, 2010

Toko at Surry Hills

The bar area at Toko

Sushi counter viewed from the cocktail tables

Last Friday, I was almost supposed to be on a cruise. Unfortunately (or fortunately considering the weather and how the night turned out to be) I wasn't able to get the ticket at a discount. So J and I decided to head out for some good Japanese food and a movie. There were 3 contenders for the night's dinner: Sushiya at Artarmon, Wasavie at Paddington and Toko at Surry Hills. Relentless rains in Sydney this past week and on Friday made the decision for me. Toko atSurry Hills for its close proximity and its Japanese alcoholic beverages.

Yuzu Shu by the glass

As they don't allow booking we aimed to get there early and reached the shop at 7pm. It wasn't early enough to get a table, but we managed to snag some cocktail table where they serve food. I ordered Yuzu shu, citrus wine and J had Ume shu, plum wine. Toko turned out to be an izakaya (Click here for wiki info). They even had a degustation menu for AUD 70 per person (min. 2 people) which I was tempted to order but unfortunately it did not include miso nasu dengaku. So we went ala carte.

Nigiri Sushi (5 pieces)

The sushi was fresh and I wished I was there for an omakase night. The scallop sushi was sweet and soft. It was definitely my favorite. The rest, from what I tasted and looking at J's content face, were also up to par.

Spider roll (soft shell crab)

Spider roll, close up

Spider roll is one of my favorite roll and I am quite picky about it. I hate it when the crab is soggy or not crispy enough. Toko did a wonderful job though, the soft shelled crab was crispy, soft and not soggy, with just enough mayonnaise that did not take away the crab taste.

Miso Nasu Dengaku (Grilled Eggplant with Miso)

The much awaited order. When I asked J if she would like to order this, she was practically beaming at me. As though she just won a lottery, which was fine by me since I love eggplant. It was really really really yummy. The flesh was so tender and the miso was yum. We both prefer the light brown miso compared to the darker one which was heavier and saltier. The only complain is, its not enough!

Grilled duck breast with pickled pear

This was one where J had that beaming face when I suggested it. This and the eggplant was our favorite for the night. The breast meat was tender and flavorful. It has that earthy slightly pungent taste that I associated with duck meat. Combined with the salt and pickled pear, it was an explosion of opposite taste that surprisingly tasted very well together.

Tempura Moriawase (Assorted Tempura)

When it arrived, I didn't think twice about it. Normal, standard tempura. However, when we started eating it, its the vegetables that was surprising. They were not your average eggplant, onions, mint leaves tempura. They substituted some for tomatoes and avocado! I was skeptical about the avocado, but it was surprisingly good. The frying made it melt in your mouth and the tomatoes, well it was sweet.

In total with 2 drinks, we spent about AUD 54 each, which was quite reasonable considering the quality of the food. It was definitely fortunate that I didn't go on that cruise.

490 Crown St
Surry Hills
+61 2 9357 6100

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