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Now Open: Token Is a New Izakaya-Inspired Diner from the Team Behind Some of Melbourne's Best Brunch Spots

Get around sashimi and temaki from the raw bar and flame-kissed Japanese eats from the yakitori grill.
By Andrew Zuccala
January 23, 2024
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By Andrew Zuccala
January 23, 2024
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The crew who brought us some of Melbourne's most influential cafes (Higher Ground, Top Paddock and The Kettle Black) has just opened Token, a new 150-seat Japanese restaurant on Toorak Road in South Yarra.

Token is strongly inspired by the delightfully chaotic beer-and-bar snack culture of Japanese izakayas, which is somewhat of a trend in Melbourne right now — Robata, Tokyo Motto, Yakimono and Tamura all fall into this category. This particular style of casual drinking and dining is experiencing a real surge in popularity and, as a format that involves scoffing stacks of snacks alongside Japanese beers, cocktails and sake, why wouldn't it?

Token - Japanese Restaurant and bar in South Yarra, Melbourne.

Token fits nicely into this niche but has a unique concept that focuses on "the elemental duality of the Liquid & Raw and the Charred & Flamed". Liquid and raw refers to the drink offerings — cocktails, sakes, wine and beer — and the restaurant's raw bar, where sashimi and temaki are made to order in front of diners.

Token - Japanese Restaurant and bar in South Yarra, Melbourne.

Charred and flamed is then represented by the myriad of dishes cooked on the Binchotan yakitori grill and in the coal-fired oven. These take centre stage in the open kitchen that guests can sit by, being entertained as the grill masters play with fire.

Darling Group Directors Sam and Nicholas Seoud and Executive Chef Ashly Hicks (ex-Prince Dining Room, Garden State Hotel and Mya Tiger) have created the selection of Japanese eats with Token's Head Chef Jun Sun (ex-Nobu and Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya). There's some damn impressive experience, so the expectations are high.

Token - Japanese Restaurant and bar in South Yarra, Melbourne.

Token - Japanese Restaurant and bar in South Yarra, Melbourne.

Token - Japanese Restaurant and bar in South Yarra, Melbourne.

You'll find Token at 151 Toorak Road, South Yarra, open every day of the week from 12pm–late. For more information, head to the venue's website.

Published on January 23, 2024 by Andrew Zuccala
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