Welcome to my blog! Yes I am that feathery creature of the night that you've most likely seen at the latest opening of a bar, launch party, burlesque night or stuffing my face full of food! I review Sydney's offerings of things to eat, drink and everything in between. I enjoy trying out the weird, the wonderful, the wacky, the quirky or just plain fun. Life's far too short to not give everything a go just once! Hopefully I'll give you some great ideas to try out. Go to my new site: www.missfeathers.com.au

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dugustation at Tokonoma

We walk through a curtained doorway into the honey coloured curved, sleek wood interior that is Tokonoma, situated next door to Toko. There is soft lighting and Reni Jung's shimmering 11-metre sculpture, Water, featuring 500,000 lentils set in resin. We are seated in an intimate booth beside this artwork (which we're pretty sure kept on making an electronic beeping noise... strange), on the other side of the bar. Architect Matt Darwon has done an an amazing job, which you realise in full on a trip to the bathroom. You can easily forget that there are other diners in the restaurant from our very roomy booth table.

It's only after we're seated that we notice the bottles of liquid lit up from underneath. It's not until after that I realise that these are bottles of Tokonoma's signature house-infused beverages, or “shochu." To be perfectly honest, I didn't realise that Tokonoma Shochu Bar and Lounge is Tokonoma's full name. And the levels of lighting in there are so low, that I couldn't really read the drinks menu to pick up on this. We had a bottle of wine included in the Team Spreets voucher that I had bought for my friend's birthday and we decided to take it easy on the alcohol. But I have heard very good things about the sochu at Tokonoma. I've heard that the gen awa cha (genmaicha-infused shiro shochu, orange flower bubble tea, lychee tea, ($17) in particular, is a must try. It'll have to wait till next time for me.

The staff are extremely competent, the service is efficient and fast and we always have at least 1 item of food on our table at all times. Within minutes of being seated we had two glasses of lovely cold white wine (perfect to combat the scorching temperatures of this week) and warm, salty edamame in front of us.


gyu niku no tataki seared beef, pickled onions, mizuna, garlic chips
Rare on the outside, melt in your mouth on this inside. The picked onions and crunch from the garlic chips complimented the seared beef extremely well. Although slightly difficult to eat (we kind of rolled in over with our chop sticks. Although my photo does not do it justice at all, this was a beautifully plated meal.

watari-gani kara-age crispy soft-shell crab, wasabi mayonnaise
Tokonoma's version of soft- shell crab was served with an amazing wasabi mayonnaise, with I personally think should be served with most meals, rather than just boring mayonnaise. There was a light batter and a lot of crab meat. Perfect. We could have eaten a lot more of this.

assorted selection of nigiri

I enjoyed each new vessel our meals were plated on, almost as much as the food. The nigiri was fresh and melted in your mouth. The tofu was delicate, yet layered in flavours and the the shreds of dehydrated chilli were a nice subtle touch. The grilled prok melted in your mouth and had a delicious grilled flavour (even though I don't normally order pork).

tofu with misu paste

grilled pork

lamb cutlets with purple eggplant and misu (above)  

zucchini no wafu yaki : zucchini, wafu sauce, sesame sauce (below)

Both the lamb and zuccini were simple, but the combination of their sauces and being grilled made them both amazingly delicious and were quickly eaten by my friend and I. The lamb in particular, melted in your mouth, we managed to lick the bones clean.

(more photos to come)...

We finished it all off with a palate cleansing misu and some more of our bottle of wine. We thought we were all done, but then the dessert came out. The icecream was served on ice, which was nice touch and the mango in particular was very tasty. The creme brulee had some mystery items at the bottom of it and was unlike any other creme brulee I've had before. This was accompanied with some tropical fruits: strawberry, kiwi fruit, lychee and dragon fruit: yum.

The ambience, food and beverages, service and the design of Tokonoma all combined to make our visit a memorable one. It's contemporary Japanese food (a fusion perhaps) was spot on. We had a great time having a look at all of the bottles of Sochu on the way out, as we re-entered the ridiculously hot summer night.

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