Toko to open in Melbourne

05 April, 2016 by
Danielle Bowling

Popular Japanese restaurant, Toko, is preparing for its first Melbourne opening, with the new site expected to launch in early September.

The fourth Toko site will be located at 142 Greville Street, Prahan, and will have a 50-strong team including general manager Evan Gargaro and founder Matt Yazbek, who said the Toko team had been looking for a site in Melbourne for two years.

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“Not only is Greville Street a great location, the size of the site allowed us to create Toko with several

distinct spaces within for dining, cocktails, sake, alongside outdoor dining and a separate private bar,” Yazbek said.

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Toko Melbourne features a private dining room, seating for 120, sushi bar, open kitchen and open chef preparation area, an outdoor bar with Japanese style gardens and cherry blossom trees, as well as a separate whiskey and cocktail bar, which is also available for use as a private lounge and bar.

Featuring izakaya-style dining, the menu, Toko Melbourne’s menu will including signature dishes like 48 hour marinated smoked miso king salmon with house pickled ginger; wagyu beef gyoza with white-soy mustard and shiso; thinly sliced kingfish with a yuzu dressing and chives; and a six piece chef selection signature nigiri.

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“The menu, beverage lists and fit-out are a tribute to the original, a model which has been welcomed and appreciated since I first opened Toko Sydney in Surry Hills eight years ago,” he said.

The food will be complemented by an extensive sake menu. Curated by Australia’s first sake sommelier Paul Birtwistle, the sake menu is a key focus for Toko, which works in partnership with the Nanbu Bijin brewery in Japan to create a signature sake – Tokubetsu Junmai – presented in a custom bottle. Toko stocks the Tsuki No Katsura Yanagi, a rare and exquisite example from the Sudo Honke brewery in Ibaragi.

The beverage list will also include a selection of Japanese and Scottish whiskies including the exceptionally rare Mars Komagatake 2011 The Revival; Suntory Hakushu 25 year; and the boutique Nikka Taketsuru 17 year.

Toko’s cocktails will include Kakeru’s Cloud (strawberry infused Wyborowa vodka, mandarin

shochu, vanilla, and egg whites garnished with pink fairy floss); and the Shimamoto Sour, Toko’s twist on the traditional sour, with apricot infused yamazaki, honey, chamomile, citrus, hint of absinthe, served with a drunken apricot.

The interiors are a collaborative effort between architect Annie Snell, Toko interior designer Matt Darwon, and Yazbek. Natural timber, exposed brick walls, stone bars and low lighting meet a minimalist colour palette to create a warm, understated interior.

Toko Melbourne is the Toko Group’s fourth venue. Toko Sydney opened in 2007, followed by Toko Dubai (June 2013) and Tokonoma Sydney (February 2015).