For the past two years, Prahran's Toko has ranked among Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants. And with good reason — the Melbourne offshoot of the top Sydney and Dubai fine dining establishment, it served up everything from fairy floss cocktails to sashimi matched with pork crackling. Alas, the Greville Street favourite has now closed its doors, but Tokosan has popped up in its place.
Dubbed as Toko 's cheeky little sister, Matt Yazbek's new venture focuses mainly on beverages, paired with a casual Japanese menu. The brand new interior design boasts neon lighting, a 16-metre-long street art mural, and DJ-spun tunes via the new sound system. Of note is the new karaoke room, bookable for functions of 20 people — so prepare to give your lungs a workout.
The pub-style Japanese menu features sticky grilled pork ribs with a jacket potato, Japanese-style chicken burgers and popcorn shrimp with spicy aioli. Ramen and udon noodle soups also make an appearance, as does sushi, and the arrival of $20 all-you-can-eat Temaki Tuesdays is something to look forward to. We'll let you know when that one launches.
Tokosan's cocktail list, named after Kill Bill characters, includes the gin, cucumber and passionfruit O-Ren Ishii, the Boss Tanaka with bourbon, apricot brandy, ginger ale and lemon juice, and the sake-infused Sofie Faale.
Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, Tokosan will keeps things bustling with its 100-person inside capacity. Outside, what was once a courtyard has been converted into a lounge garden, catering for up to 60 people — with heating in winter, of course. They'll look to host weekly Sunday sessions from 11am soon too.
Jumping on the more-casual train, Tokosan is Matt Yazbek's answer to Melbourne's insatiable appetite for laidback establishments to eat and drink. And Toko isn't dead, either — a new CBD location is in the works.
Tokosan is now open at 142 Greville Street, Prahran, Tuesday till Saturday 4pm till 1am. For more info, visit tokosan-melbourne.com.