Hot venue: Toko Melbourne

The Toko Group opened Toko Melbourne earlier this month.

Toko melbourne

The Toko Group opened Toko Melbourne earlier this month.

This is founder Matt Yazbek’s fourth venture.

Yazbek said, “We’ve been looking for the right location in Melbourne for two years, so when this site on Greville Street became available, we pounced.

“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.

“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.

Featuring izakaya dining in the finest tradition – a style conducive to sharing – Toko Melbourne’s menu includes signature dishes like 48 hour marinated smoked miso king salmon with house pickled ginger (sake no aburi yaki), wagyu beef gyoza with white-soy mustard and shiso (gyu niku gyoza), thinly sliced kingfish with a yuzu dressing and chives (hiramasa no usuzukuri), six-piece chef selection signature nigiri including scampi with foie gras and truffle oil, and unagi, torched foie gras, and umeboshi.

The food is served in synergy with an extensive sake menu, a considered spirit list highlighting interesting and top-shelf rare whiskies, and a seductive cocktail selection.

Curated by Paul Birtwistle of the Toko Group, 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.

A selection of Japanese and Scottish whisky is served. Highlights include the exceptionally rare Mars Komagatake 2011 The Revival, Suntory Hakushu 25 year, and the boutique Nikka Taketsuru 17 year.

Toko’s cocktails will surprise. Kakeru’s Cloud is fun with 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 chic, minimalist colour palette to create a warm, understated interior. Feature pieces by artist Reni Kung, including ‘Water’ – one
million individually placed lentils set in Perspex and resin – add focal points to the space.

Toko Melbourne features a private sunken dining room for 16, restaurant seating for 120, sushi bar, open kitchen and open chef preparation area, outdoor bar with maple trees, and a separate whiskey and cocktail bar, also available for use as a private lounge and bar.

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).

Toko Melbourne is located at 142 Greville Street Prahran, Vic.

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