490 Crown Street, Surry Hills (02) 9357 6100 toko.com.au
At this time last year, whilst travelling in the beautiful Kumamoto region of Japan, I discovered the Japanese spirit shochu, and drank my way through its nuances: rice, barley, buckwheat and sweet potato. Opening the list at Tokonoma, I recounted that journey, drinking Hakutake Shiro ($7) and Torikai ($7) which both hail from the region. We sampled shochu tonics, created by macerating fruits in the booze; Lotus Shu ($10) is my pick. Yet you know us: we started with cocktails, and the Yuzu Gimlet ($18) delighted – try it, or something from the extensive sake range. The bar itself is elegant, warm and rounded in timber and the booths behind the bar are a great place to kick on. Tokonoma has other advantages; it accepts bookings Thursday to Saturday; and the food comes out of the same kitchen as the adjoining Toko restaurant.