Tag Archives: surry hills

Toko

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Toko is located on Crown Street in the midst of Surry Hills. With a Toko also situated in Dubai, this little gem is a great place to visit. With an amazing contemporary design, diners are able to experience a unique and sophisticated Japanese cuisine which would be nicely complemented with either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage from the extensive drinks menu. Offering a range of dishes with fresh produce and amazing interior throughout, Toko is a perfect way to end a long day. This was our lunch experience at Toko:

Bar view

KITCHEN | TEMPURA DISHES

Tofu

pirikara dofu to avocado – cripsy fried tofu, avocado salsa, barley miso $13.60
Jessica: Presentation was so beautiful!! I loved the avocado salsa, I think the tomatoes in the salsa was definitely needed to bring a freshness to the dish. On it’s own, the tofu was not seasoned at all, so the sweet and slightly spicy sauce was needed to give it a kick and some flavour. I do wish that the fried tofu had more crunch to the skin though. 7/10

Jimmy: This was such a delicate little dish. The tofu was soft and had a slight crisp texture to it which allowed the avocado salsa to combine well. The red garnish on top which I believe is saffron, gave a light yet big difference in the overall taste and look of the dish. The micro herbs was enjoyable so was the barley miso, which gave this dish a great balance in flavours and texture. 7/10

Squid

ika no tempura – crispy tempura squid, soy chilli broth $14.80
Jessica: The squid was perfectly deep fried, it had a nice colour to it. When you eat the squid on it’s own, it tastes average.. However that broth definitely adds so much more to the dish. I love that the dipping sauce was a broth, it was warm and had really good flavours in it, I like that it was slightly chilli! It is different to the typical aioli or sweet chilli sauce that usually comes with deep fried food. 7/10

Jimmy: This is the perfect snack sized dish to have with a beer or a couple of drinks. For me personally, I enjoyed the texture of the batter and squid. The onions placed on the top did not overpower the squid and had a very light hint of the onion flavour. A simple but enjoyable dish, though a little over-priced for the serving portion, other than that it was a fresh tasting tempura option. 7/10

KITCHEN | TOKO ROLLS

Tempura prawns

ebi tempura maki – prawn tempura, avocado, cucumber, inside out, tenkasu $14.80
Jessica: It may look like a regular sushi roll, but the flavours in this are definitely a stand out compared to when you go to a regular sushi bar. Prawns were still slightly warm which is nice, and my favourite part was actually the seaweed! It gave a nice crunch and it also had really good seasoning of salt as well. It reminded me of those dried seaweed that you can get at asian groceries in small packets – crunchy and salty! I can’t put my finger on what it was about this sushi roll that made it extra special, maybe it was the spicy mayo that it was infused with? Delicious, and a great starter! 8/10

Jimmy: This was a great option to have as a small starter. The prawns were beautiful and so was the addition of avocado. I enjoyed the little details of the dish and it being “inside out” was a real bonus. The outer layer of rice was infused with tenkasu that gave it a great texture. The cucumber gave it a little crunch and everything worked so well together. Presented beautifully and the flavours made you want more. 7/10

KITCHEN | SMALL DISHES

Wagyu

gyuniku no tataki – seared beef, pickled onions, mizuna, garlic chips $18.40
Jimmy: As a last minute option to fill my stomach a little more, we went with the seared beef. Visually beautiful and the plate really helped make the colours pop. The pickled onions had a good texture, though the crunch element was the garlic chips that was quite strong on it’s own. The beef was seared well though it may have needed more of the dressing to help give it some moisture. 6/10

ROBATA GRILL | MEAT

Ribs

honetsuki buta amagara jouyu – pork spare-ribs, sweet soy chilli $19.80
Jessica: Oh man these were cooked sooo well! So soft and tender and you could easily pull them off the bone. I loved the caramelised flavour on the edges. And the sweet soy chilli sauce was needed to add more flavour.. Although this dish was delicious, I do feel like it was a little incomplete, something was missing that I can’t quite put my finger on. 7/10

Jimmy: One of the favourites of the day has to be awarded to these pork spare-ribs. Very, very simple but full of flavours that really make this dish so enjoyable. The meat is incredibly soft and tender, that each bite rips it straight off the bone. The sweet soy chilli dressing gave it a real kick that made it a real finger licking, delicious plate of yum. 7.5/10

Pork

butabara amakara so-su to issho ni – pork belly, apple-kizami wasabi relish, sweet soy $17.20
Jessica: This looks so appetising! There was only a small dollop of the apple relish, and that small amount packed a huge punch! I loved that it gave the pork some extra dimension. I do wish the pork was more soft and tender, it wasn’t overcooked, but it wasn’t cooked to perfection either. Overall, the sweet soy added the needed sweetness to the pork, I couldn’t get enough of the sauce – I kept going back to drench my pork in it! 7/10

Jimmy: I was not too sure about my expectations for this dish, but when it came out, it looked amazing. The plating here at Toko is unique in most cases and really helps lift the dish visually. The pork was moist and soft and the sweet soy was the winner. The incredible flavours allowed the pork to bathe in it’s sticky goodness. With that addition of the amazing apple-kizami, this was a great dish. 7.5/10

DESSERT

Crumble

rubarbu crumble nihonshu shabetto zoe –┬áchilled rhubarb-macadamia crumble, vanilla custard, apple sorbet $14.80
Jimmy: When it comes to dessert, I get extremely excited at what comes out. This was a wow dessert. Everything was happening and I found myself cleaning the plate out quicker than I should have. First off, the flavour in the apple sorbet was full and rich, a zing of apple hit’s your tastebuds and is beautiful with the vanilla custard and macadamia crumble. The crumble was sprinkled on top and also was infused with the rhubarb, which varied in the sizing of the crumble that really gave the dish some fallback from the strong flavours of the rhubarb at the bottom. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal, the little ice box was a nice addition that I thought was quite interesting. 8/10

Fondant

torokeru chocolato to hazelnut no fondant – chocolate and hazelnut fondant, milk ice cream $17.80
Jessica: Ohhhhhhhh my goodness.. this fondant was amazing. It does look like a regular fondant on the outside.. but once you dig your spoon in chocolate just comes oozing out. I regret not capturing it on video! The chocolate was so rich, but the perfect amount of richness. What I loved about this was the hazelnut sauce that was in the fondant as well, it really did make the dish 10x better than a regular chocolate fondant. It added a nutty flavour that cut through the richness of the chocolate. The fondant was warm, rich, decedant and full of chocolate and hazelnut flavour.. what more could you ask for? The milk ice cream was nice, not too sweet which was great because it helped balance the dessert. The only complaint I have is that the ice cream melted soo quickly! One point to add is that on our second visit, I cut through the fondant expecting the rich chocolate to ooze out, however all I received was the hazelnut chocolate only, it was missing the rich chocolate that oozed out the first time I had it. I believe that the fondant I had the second time was overcooked, the ‘cake’ did have a bit of a crisp on the outside. However, having said that, I cannot forget my first experience with this fondant. 9/10

CLEANSERS

Soda

momo – white peaches, calpis and green tea blended with fresh lemon juice and soda water $9
Jessica: This definitely fits being in the menu under a ‘cleanser’ (non alcoholic drink), because every time I had a sip thats what I felt like it did, it cleansed my palette – so that I was ready for the next bite into my meal. It was refreshing, and very easy to drink. I would definitely order this again. 8/10

Grapefruit

zaksan – lychees and pink grapefruit muddled with genmaicha and soda water $9
Jimmy: This looks like an great summer refreshment. The colours look great in the bamboo shaped glass. Though I found the pink grapefruit overpowered the lychees and genmaicha, which was strong in bitterness and a little tangy. Not a bad cleanser, I just would have liked to have a greater balance between flavours. 6.5/10

Bar

Final Thoughts

Jessica: This blog post consists of two visits to Toko, after the first visit we just HAD to go back ASAP! The service from our waiter was perfect, he was very friendly, patient and professional. I do think that the hostess could’ve given us a smile though. I’m not sure what it is about the restaurant but you do feel very relaxed when you dine there. Food came out on time, and the dishes were all very well executed. Loved the interior design of the restaurant, great to see that there was attention to detail as I felt like even the plates and glasses worked well with the design of the restaurant. As you can see, presentation is beautiful and consistent throughout all the dishes. A great restaurant to dine at in the Surry Hills area, beautiful food and it has a great atmosphere!

SERVICE: 8/10
ATMOSPHERE: 9/10
PRESENTATION: 9/10

Jimmy: We visited Toko at lunch time, and although we did not have a booking, we were guided to a table and seated without any fuss. The interior is really chic and the simplistic colour combinations made you feel cozy. The waiter that served us was very polite and friendly. Though there may have been a inconsistent vibe between staff, it did not effect our overall dining experience. The food was incredibly enjoyable, though the portions may be small, it had a real focus on less is more. The atmosphere was peaceful with many diners being corporate/business people, it is a relaxing place to eat. Though for dinner, the vibe may become more energetic it is something for us to try next time. Overall, Toko is a lovely place to dine. The interior and presentation is amazing, the attention to detail is present and the location is great. Lovers of Japanese food, if you haven’t yet, chuck it on your to-eat-list.

SERVICE: 7/10
ATMOSPHERE: 7/10
PRESENTATION: 8/10

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Entrance

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Lunch/reservations available

Tuesday to Friday 12pm – 3pm

Dinner/no reservations

Monday to Thursday 6pm – 11pm kitchen closes 10:15pm

Friday and Saturday 6pm – 12pm kitchen closes 11:00pm

Toko Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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The Book Kitchen

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The Book Kitchen is located on Devonshire Street in the culturally rich Surry Hills. With a 10 minute walk from Central Station, Sydney — The Book Kitchen is the perfect place to have a good meal or a good cup of coffee. And if you haven’t noticed, a good book to read just to add to your little dining experience or just a little personal getaway from the buzzing of the city. This was our lunch experience at The Book Kitchen:

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CaesarSalad

TBK caesar – pork belly, white anchovies, baby cos, cherry tomatoes, croutons, soft poached egg, parmesan dressing $18
Jessica: My all time favourite salad to have! The pork belly was a nice surprise to replace the traditional bacon that is usually added. It looked super crispy – which it was, but what I loved was that the meat was super tender and soft once you bite into it. Cherry tomatoes were fresh and sweet. I loved the croutons, it tasted like sourdough with a hint of olive oil. I would’ve loved more caesar dressing though. Perfect dish to have, it is light but will fill you up and won’t leave you feeling bloated! 8/10

WagyuBurger

Wagyu burger – soft centre of braised shin, beetroot relish, cos lettuce, smoked garlic aioli, brioche roll with chips $19
Jimmy: I have had quite a few burgers here and there, this was the first burger that I have had that oozed a great blend of flavours and textures of that of a “normal” Wagyu burger you would usually get. The two pieces of wagyu beef were incredibly soft and juicy, the garlic aioli complimented the meat nicely and the cos lettuce was fresh and gave it a little crunch. The brioche roll tasted beautifully soft and had a slight sweet taste and I actually prefer this to the sesame buns or the common leavened bread. The star of the burger award would most definitely go to the beetroot relish. This really made the burger for me, the flavour was delicious and nice on it’s own also. Warning that if you eat burgers as sloppy as me, it may get insanely messy so probably stay away from this dish if your wearing your best. In addition, the chips that came with the burger were a nice change. Chunky and seasoned nicely, a lot more filling than your usual straight, thin or french fries. 7.5/10

IcedMocha

Iced mocha $6
Jessica: You have the option to have this with some ice cream or just over ice, I chose to have it over ice. Coffee flavour was good, it had a nice aroma to it and there was the perfect amount of chocolate in it too! 8/10

Sweet

Orange and almond meal flourless cake $4
Jessica: O-M-G.. You could tell from the first bite that this little cake was made with love! I loved the fact that you could see some orange pulp throughout the cake. The cake was the perfect texture, it was moist and not crumbly at all. I absolutely loved this and I would go back JUST for this little cake. This would be a perfect treat to have with coffee, as the marmalade is quite sweet. I couldn’t get over how amazing the orange flavour was and how moist the texture was. A must try when you come here!! 9.5/10

Final Thoughts

Jessica: I really enjoyed dining here, the staff were very friendly and polite. I love the interior, it looks very welcoming. They have a bookshelf with an extensive range of cook books and some good reads if you were looking for a place to wind down and relax. Food and drinks were above average, I would highly recommend this little cafe/restaurant for lunch or breakfast. I’m hoping to try out their breakfast menu the next time we come back. This is definitely a place their surrounding competition should take notice of!

SERVICE: 8/10
ATMOSPHERE: 7/10
PRESENTATION: 7/10

Jimmy: The Book Kitchen has all the makings of a great dining spot. Perfect location right across the famous Bourke Street Bakery, The Book Kitchen is a beautiful spot to stop, relax and enjoy a meal or drink. Though we didn’t read any books, it did not reduce the peaceful atmosphere. Dog walkers and casual diners stopped by to have a cuppa or a light meal. Food was nicely presented and executed well. Service was very friendly and they weren’t afraid to hold a conversation with you.

SERVICE: 7/10
ATMOSPHERE: 7.5/10
PRESENTATION: 7.5/10

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FaceBook TwitterInstagramW: The Book Kitchen

255 Devonshire St, Surry Hills 2010
0420 239 469
Open 7 Days // Breakie & Lunch from 8am

The Book Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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