Melbourne is a wonderful city for eating out. There’s history, tradition and there are umpteen luxury hotels with cool international cuisine. Also there’s street food too. But where I like to eat here is a question I get asked very frequently. Being a restaurateur, I know what goes on behind the scenes. In addition to that I eat out a lot and I’m always on the lookout for spaces that serve nutritious food. So when I do come across eateries like these I love to blog about them. For instance, Tokyo Tina in Melbourne is a casual and intimate dining space which caters to drool-worthy Japanese/Vietnamese fusion food and amazing cocktails. Bonus it’s in a setting that inspires and woos me with its contemporary urban aesthetic and other intriguing pop culture elements from the Far East. For these very reasons and that it’s from the group behind Saigon Sally and Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina which has broken away from the luxe stereotype of a Japanese restaurant, happens to be one of my go-to eateries.
No matter where you are seated at this 100 seater restaurant quirky bistro with its outdoor holding bar, an elevated dining room composed of open plan and booth options, it’s a visual experience. From the moment you step inside, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported onto the streets of Japan and Vietnam. Their attention to detail can be seen through their use of table mats as bingo and authentic crockery. With vibrant, colourful wall art from ceiling to floor, this hip café’s playful and happy vibe carries through the presentation and plating of their food too.
Food & Cocktails
Managing to create the right balance between innovation and comfort, each portion is treated like a new canvas, and served like art on a plate. Apart from this, what will make me come back here repeatedly is their ‘Snapper Udon’. Exploding with flavours with each bite, it’s light, fragrant, powerful and nothing short of spectacular. And then there is the mouth-watering ‘Chirashi Don’ which is comfort food at its finest. It’s the kind of stuff dreams are made of. Whether it’s their baos, bowls or plates, these will not only have you pulling out your camera phone like your meal depends on it but will easily assist you to achieve some serious Instagram #feedgoals. When it comes to the cocktails, their signature ones seem worth giving a shot. Lastly, if you are up for something versatile, then they serve an extensive selection of sake which perfectly complements their food without overpowering its flavours.
To sum it up…
What appeals the most to me about Tokyo Tina is that this all day dining space is always ready to satisfy just about any of my cravings and has a holistic approach to service and food. From grabbing mid-day meals to a quick snack in the evening and getting our modern Japanese food fix, these dishes not only satisfy my eyes but also my soul.