Tanuki

The Matteo team's Japanese restaurant and sake bar delivers a multi-facetted spot for fun group dining and al fresco hangs.
Ben Hansen
March 26, 2024

Overview

Sashimi, wine and sake are the name of the game at Tanuki, the Bay Street restaurant from the Matteo team. Named after a mischievous figure in Japanese folklore (see: Studio Ghibli's Pom Poko), this spot offers a raw bar, internal courtyard, impressive sake collection and late-night lounge, all in one stunning space right next door to the Double Bay pizzeria.

The venue is centred around a 30-year-old Japanese liquid amber tree with a surrounding dining bench. There are several zones to discover throughout the space, whether you're dropping in for a drink and a plate of seared salmon temarizushi or sticking around for a full feast.

Leading the kitchen is Head Chef Ken Wee Lee, who brings experience from Sushi e, Zuma and Toko on a menu split into categories like sashimi, nigiri, tempura and robata. Menu highlights include Alaskan king crab cooked on the robata grill and served with truffle gratin, spatchcock presented with pickles and barley miso, and wagyu beef gyoza paired with a yuzu ponzu for dipping.

There's also a pair of set menus, with the reasonably priced $80 selection rolling through edamame, kingfish sashimi, wagyu beef tartare, scallop and prawn toast, chicken karaage, the steak of the day and matcha tiramisu.

An all-star cast leads the way behind the bar, with the cocktails, sake and wine lists curated by General Manager Joong Charpentier (ex-Sushi e, Hemmisphere), Bar Manager Sean Guardian (ex-Mr Wong) and Head Sommelier Ambroise Moriceau (ex-Bennelong, Armorica).

Alongside the extensive sake and wine selections, you can opt for an inventive highball or peruse the signature cocktails like the 'Umeboshi' crafted with a collision of tequila, plum umeshu, strawberry and wasabi leaf, and togarashi.

Tanuki is a jack-of-all-trades-style venue, offering a myriad of experiences, all set in a moody space designed by Matters + Made. Wander in from Bay Street, find your spot and decide what type of night you're in for.

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