First and foremost we would like to thank Tokosan for inviting us to dine at their restaurant. When we arrived at their doorstep, there was a strong sense of familiarity especially the steps which lead into their main dining room. We had a suspicion that we may have been here before, but it felt a little foreign at the same time! The location felt familiar but the décor and atmosphere felt different. After spending way too much time trying to figure out this mystery, we dug through our photos and realised that they used to be called Toko! It turns out that Toko is relocating to the CBD and this place had been revamped to Tokosan. Another mystery solved, we were finally back on track, and ready to see what Tokosan brings to the table.
The transformation from Toko had been dramatic, we remembered Toko to be a fine dining Japanese restaurant. Tokosan has a massive wall of street art as you walk in on the left, and it sure creates a strong impact! There’s a bar area on the right with an assortment of alcoholic beverages and they even have a karaoke room. Past the bar and through the glass doors, there’s an outdoor area to kick back and enjoy some drinks. This also doubles as a function area, so for anyone looking to host an event, this option is available. We were offered to sit outside – no way Jose! There’s no way I’m putting my body through this heat… I’ve been struggling enough lately with Melbourne’s crazy temperature fluctuations. We wisely opted to sit inside in a comfortable booth. I suspect that they don’t have air con because the cold air didn’t feel refrigerated. I felt a little sticky which tells me that it may be evaporative cooling. Not a big deal at all,l as cooling is all personal preference!
The waiter ran us through the specials of the day which included a $5 sparkling wine (Fleur De Lys) and $5 Gyoza dumplings. For anyone wondering why the waiter needed to run us through the specials, our meal was subsidised to a certain amount, anything over would be out of our own pocket. We couldn’t turn down the specials, and we also ordered a bowl of chicken ramen, wagyu beef bao, and a pork ribbies (highly recommended by bearabbit).
The wagyu beef in the bao came in a patty style. It had great beef flavour and was cooked a perfect medium to medium rare, the best doneness to showcase the beef. It tasted great and all the ingredients held together nicely in the bao without going everywhere. I was surprised to find the prawn dumplings deep fried! I’m used to them being pan fried, and I’m generally not a huge fan of deep fried. In saying so, I could taste the separation of prawn pieces in the gyoza itself and it had a great crunch. Fans of deep fried would enjoy this style of dumpling. I have to say that I was a little shocked at the price though, a serve of 5 prawn gyozas are normally $16! This feels a bit steep for gyozas and the price would have put me off ordering them. $5 specials are enticing but I wouldn’t be paying full price. The pork gyoza was my favourite out of the two, the filling was packed full of flavour and pan fried to a classic crisp on one side. I loved it but couldn’t justify the RRP of $13 though. Could something be really tasty and overpriced? I don’t normally think this way because I can usually justify the price as long as the quality is good, but I may have to make an exception in this instance…
I was really looking forward to my ramen as I hadn’t had ramen in a while! The bowl came out, and it looked great. It strangely didn’t have the strong aromas I was expecting from a quality bowl of ramen. I took a sip of the soup… BLAND. It taste diluted, with zero richness and no pork flavour. It was truly underwhelming indeed, but little did I know that I was going to be hit with a double whammy. The ramen noodles were bloated and overcooked with no elasticity and mouth feel. (FYI – I snapped a picture of the ramen in record breaking time, as I’m fully aware of what leaving the noodles drowned in soup would do to it. The noodles already came in this state straight out of the kitchen). The two most important aspects in a bowl of ramen failed miserably, and as a result made me feel a little miserable also. The chicken and broccolini was nice, but it was too little too late.
The pork ribbies on the other hand were amazing. Tender, fall off the bone with a delicious teriyaki sauce. The sour cream worked surprisingly well with the pork ribs and I found myself looking forward to each dip. The pork ribbies and the pork gyozas were my favourite dishes at Tokosan.
With the exception of the ramen, I enjoyed all our dishes of the night. Tokosan has a lot going for it with the bar, good food, outdoor function area, karaoke, hell they even got a pool table. They’ve got the perfect recipe for a great night out and I wouldn’t hesitate to come back again!
Approx $40 AUD per person
Address: 142 Greville St, Prahran VIC 3181
Phone: +61 3 9521 3155