Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tokonoma: Surry Hills (27 July 2012)

Upon entering the dark, chic doorway of Tokonoma, it feels like as if you have been transported from the hustle and bustle of Crown St to an entirely different place. The service is warm and attentive, and all clients are asked about their food allergies beforehand. I have heard of a great deal of positive reviews on Tokonoma from friends, so I had dangerously high expectations for the place. So far it hadn't been disappointed, and I was excited to start the whole dining experience. 

Dimly lit tables with plush sofa chairs


Steamed edamame
We started with the steamed edamame beans which were still crunchy and seasoned well with crunchy rock salts. 

Zaksan
Because M had a sore throat, we decided to stay with non-alcoholic drinks tonight, and M ordered the Zaksan which consisted of lychees and pink grapefruit muddled with genmaicha and soda water - perfect balance between the sweetness of crushed lychee pieces with the pink grapefruit. 

Yuzu mocktail 
I ordered the yuzu drink which consisted of fresh yuzu juice served over crushed ice - found it refreshing but overly sour from the crushed yuzu plum pieces. 

Sake no miso tarutaru
 Fat juicy cubes of salmon tartare with a hint of wasabi miso dressing. Understated and delicious.

Beef carpaccio with yuzu koshu dressing
 Seared beef thinly sliced and topped with pickled onions, mizuna and garlic chips, while swimming in a mild yuzu koshu dressing.

Tempura softshell crab with spicy chive ponzu
One of my favourite dishes from the night - the tempura softshell crab was battered thinly and deep-fried until crunchy without the feeling of greasiness. I really admire the way it was battered, since I have had many soft-shell crabs of which the legs have been clumped together in some areas due to the thicker batter. However all the legs were separated at Tokonoma, and the spicy and creamy chive ponzu mayonnaise sauce complimented the softshell crab well. 


Smoked eel and special maki  
Two types of sushi was served to us - both used fresh ingredients, and were understated in the flavours. 


Sashimi (kingfish and salmon) 
Fat and juicy fresh slices of kingfish and salmon were beautifully presented on top of ice. I only wished there was more!

Grilled scallop with apple jalapeno
Juicy pieces of grilled scallops are topped with an interesting sweet spicy apple-flavoured sauce. 

Ika no tempura
 Crispy tempura squid served with a soy chilli broth for dipping. Again another favourite dish of mine at Tokonoma, with the tempura batter made with the perfect consistency and thinness, allowing the tender squid flavour to come through.

Wafu Zucchini
 Zucchini pieces grilled on a skewer and topped with wafu sauce and sesame seeds. Simply made with not overly flavoursome toppings, to highlight the natural flavours of the zucchini.

Mugi miso de tsuketa ramu lampu
Tender barley miso mustard lamb rump that is tender and well-cooked, slice into strips and presented in a jenga fashion on a large circular wooden board with soya sauce and wasabi.

Sumomo no creme brulee, fresh fruits and higawari mizugashi
 For dessert we had the apricot and clotted cream creme brulee served with fresh fruit pieces, raspberry sorbet and chocolate ice cream. The creme brulee was different from your typical creme brulee in that there were stewed apricot pieces on the bottom, before being topped with the traditional creme brulee consistency. The addition of the stewed apricot pieces made the dessert lighter than what it typically is, and allowed just enough space for the delicious home-made sorbet and ice cream. 


Bar area
Small wooden sign at the entrance
A wonderful dining experience, bought to life with well-executed dishes, fresh ingredients, beautiful decor and attentive service. The whole night went by quickly, and was thoroughly enjoyable. I thought the tempura dishes were the highlight for me, since it was probably one of the best-made tempura batters I have had, which were further complemented by the fresh seafood ingredients they used inside. Definitely a restaurant to keep in mind for date nights and those special occasions. 

Tokonoma 
490 Crown St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
www.toko.com.au
02 9357 6100
Toko on Urbanspoon

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