Tokosan

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!

Tokosan.
Approx $40 AUD per person
Address: 142 Greville St, Prahran VIC 3181
Phone: +61 3 9521 3155
Website: tokosan-melbourne.com

Tokosan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cucina & Co

Following on from my previous review of Cucina Bar & Restaurant, we ventured across the road to continue eating at Cucina & Co. This place had a great industrial feel to it and we were quickly seated on the black communal table.

We started with the pumpkin focaccia and I instantly fell in love with this dish! The pumpkin base was delightfully appetising, along with the prosciutto and fresh tomatoes it combined to make a cracker of a starter. I use the term starter lightly because this was so filling that we were a bit worried of what was to come.

The Pizza Royal and Pappardelle Giuseppina were our other favourites. The buffalo mozzarella was of high quality, and I could taste the milky/creaminess in the cheese. The base was thin and crispy, yet it had a slightly chewy texture. These are the pizza bases which set the standard and it’s worth coming here just for this experience! I don’t get to eat Pappardelle much, but I can really see the appeal with this pasta. The large flat shape really soaks up the ragu sauce and holds onto it. The lamb and pork ragu was tender, succulent and flavoured beautifully.

Unfortunately I wasn’t a huge fan of the nutella desserts. The fried pizza dough drizzled with nutella was way too dense and doughy for my liking. The nutella calzone was just an explosion of nutella! As much as I love nutella I was seriously overwhelmed with the quantity of it, and add to the fact that I was so stuffed from all the food, it did not go down too well.

Luckily we finished off with a limoncello which helped ease the digestive system a bit! This one was really tasty and I cannot wait to open a bottle which an Italian friend gave us last month. It seems like an alcohol which I can get used to!

We’d like to thank Enzo and his team for the invite and hospitality. We enjoyed the food here and will revisit in the future.

Cucina & Co.
Approx $40 AUD per person
Address: 325 New Street, Brighton VIC 3186
Phone: +61 3 9530 5324
Website: www.cucinaandco.com.au

Cucina & Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Fish & Burger Co.

We were recently invited to the VIP launch dinner at The Fish & Burger Co. in Doncaster. The restaurant was rocking when we arrived and it was very modern and spacious with plenty of tables and chairs.

We were provided with a range of different dishes to try which included the beef, chicken and prawn sliders, mac and cheese croquettes, nacho waffle fries, chilli cheese fries, crispy fried chicken, grilled calamari and salads.

The sliders were delicious and so easily scoffable! The chicken sliders were particularly good as the chicken was crumbed with a nice slaw and ranch sauce.

We also loved the mac and cheese croquettes. They came out piping hot, crispy on the outside and oozing of the lovely mac and cheese components on the inside.

The chilli cheese fries were also nice and full of flavour. It had large chunks of jalapenos and spring onion throughout and the chips also came out fresh and crispy. The nacho waffle fries were a bit too soft and doughy for us so we much preferred the fries.

Our least favourite dish was probably the fried chicken as it was quite salty. It had a sweet and spicy marinade with sesame seeds, spring onion and a chilli mayo sauce. However all we could taste was the salt.

There are a range of salads to choose from and we had the quinoa, pumpkin and pomegranate salad and the kale and roasted sesame salad which are both good options if you are looking for something a bit healthier.

We were also invited to try their mains which included burgers and seafood plates however we were too full after trying their smaller dishes so we moved straight onto dessert!

Right at the front of the restaurant and as soon as you enter, there is a gelato and shake bar for those with a sweet tooth. I ended up getting the expresso gelato in a cup and Davin ordered the lemon sorbet in a cup. The gelatos were nice but probably a bit sweeter than the gelatos we’re used to. Having said that we are not the biggest sweet tooths so some may love that it’s sweeter. Overall if you’re looking for a cool place to hang out and enjoy some burgers, seafood and gelato, check it out!

The Fish & Burger Co.
Approx $40 AUD per person
Address: 1001 Doncaster Rd, Doncaster East VIC 3109
Phone: +61 3 9842 1011
Website: thefishandburgerco.com

The Fish & Burger Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato