Originally published on Broadsheet.
Matt Yazbek’s new bar keeps its Japanese roots but gets rid of the formality in a significant revamp.
After two years, Toko owner Matt Yazbek decided it was time for a change at his Greville Street restaurant. Prahran, he felt, would be better served by something more laidback than his Japanese izakaya, which opened in 2015.
Tokosan is his solution. It’s considerably more casual than its predecessor, both in the food offering and design – it’s first and foremost a bar.
The cocktail list is named entirely after Kill Bill characters. The Bride is a concoction of gin, mixed berries and lime, while the Pretty Riki is made with vodka, Soho lychee liquor and lychee juice. The Boss Tanaka is a combination of whisky, apricot brandy, lemon juice and ginger ale.
The menu is snack and share-plate heavy, with chilli edamame, takoyaki (squid pancake balls), popcorn shrimp served with spicy aioli and staples such as gyoza and yakitori. Pork ribs covered in a sweet and sticky glaze are Yakbek’s favourite dish. Ramen and udon are also available for those looking for something a little heartier.
The bar is also offering a late night menu until 1am, including perfect post-bar-hop plates such as crispy squid, curly fries and chicken katsu curry.
The space, which was once sleek and minimal, has been reincarnated with colourful vintage Japanese signage and ads, as well as a spot for a DJ and a karaoke area that fits up to 20 people.
Fans of Toko should know it’s not dead – Yazbek and his team are looking for a space in the CBD to relocate the original restaurant.
142 Greville Street, Prahran
(03) 9251 3155
Tue to Sat 4pm–1am
Image credit: Pete Dillon.