Shop 2, 226-228 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills (02) 8880 0788 tokyobird.com.au
I start to sweat when the barman suggests I choose a whisky for my date and I to start with. Sure, I might know my way around a house wine and a fruity cocktail, but when it comes to Japanese whiskies… I’ve got nothing. Thankfully, Yoshi Onishi spots my fear and suggests we try an approachable 12 year old Yamazaki ($15) – the perfect introduction for a rookie like me. With the menu inspired by Tokyo’s cocktail bars and streetside yakitori stalls, there’s a cool contrast at play: the drinks are theatrically and immaculately presented, whereas what comes off the grill is much more casual and versatile. I enjoy the caramelised eggplant basted in sweet miso paste ($5), while my date wants seconds of the meatballs ($7). We end by sharing a Daisy ($17): a chilli-infused mix of Cazadores tequila, grilled lime and agave. Warm and exciting, it has me wanting more – much like Tokyo Bird.