17 The Causeway, Melbourne Vic 3000
Phone: (03) 9650 4144
Service: 8/10 (customisation of dishes is allowed!)
Yearning for some authentic home made Japanese food, made with lots of TLC? Tokio Japanese is the place to go! It is well hidden within the laneways (on Bourke street, walk into the lane between ANZ Bank and Forever New). I first heard about this place from my colleagues who were raving about how good and tasty the food is. Even though it is located right next to Sushi Monger, a similar styled eatery but owned by Koreans, it still garners a cult following of foodies who are in search of quality and cheap Japanese food during lunch.
There is not much interior designing and the place looks kind of old, just like Don Don on Swanston Street. It is run by an adorable Japanese couple (cousins of Don Bay on Collins Street apparently) who makes the effort to have some personal interaction with each and every diner. They are courteous and amicable, chatting with the customers if they have the time and saying a BIG ‘thank you’ when they pass you your order. Another note is that they cook whatever you have ordered on the spot to maintain the freshness! So, prepare to wait 5 to 10 minutes for your food! I can guarantee that it is worth it!
As my loyal blog readers, you will know that I love Sukiyaki Don <3. It looked so tempting on the picture pasted on the wall. However, I decided to be adventurous and ordered Curry Udon: Japanese beef curry soup with chicken pieces @ $9. The curry tasted rather different from the usual curry that you get from other eateries and the ones you get from Asian grocery stores. It was actually sweet with a tinge of spiciness, it felt like they had brewed it for a long time . A good balance with the carrot, beef and chicken put in. The udon was soft and chewy. Having it on a cold day just warms you up a whole notch!
I decided to order Takoyaki @ $3.50 to go with my Curry Udon. I was elated to find that they were not fried but done the proper way! They were generous with the tako and the spring onions, making the takoyaki more fragrant than ever! The sauce was the right sweetness but it will be PERFECT if they had sprinkled some katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) on top…
I am totally in love with Tokio Japanese. It might not be one of those fancy restaurants with a chef’s hat and major publicity, but the food is earnest and appetizing! You can feel the love that the owners put in in the preparation and cooking of each dish. They are made straight from the heart to you! I cannot wait to go back to try the rest of the menu. Join me on the voyage for a little of home made goodness!