Tokonoma, Circular Quay

I loved a Japanese girl once.

But enough about Sailor Moon. There was another Japanese girl that I sort of, kinda liked as well. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out but I thought I would use my blog’s real estate to say this.

Toko,noma-tter what happens to our lives from here on out; I’ll always think about you when I visit Tokonoma in Circular Quay.

tokonoma circular quay

Garnering entry to Tokonoma is like trying to get in to Diagon Alley for the first time. You’re told it’s at a certain address but you need a keen eye and a bit of insider knowledge before you can access the magic behind the wall.

Once inside, you won’t find owls, cauldrons or wands but wizards of a different kind working in perfect unison behind the bar and in the kitchen. The chefs of Tokonoma (Japanese word for the pinnnacle) are masters of sushi, sashmi and tempura.

You can take my word for it and close the post.

Or you can relive the magic with me via photos in 3,2,1:

tokonoma kingfish
Hiramasa kingfish with truffle ponzu, pickled daikon and chives

Full disclosure: I was half asleep when I made my way to Tokonoma. It had been a long day and the course I was looking forward to most was the lint one can only get if they roll around in my bed. The Kingfish sensed my wearniess and decided to slap me awake with a potent mixture of umami, citrus and freshness.

Every bite of soft, minute sliced kingfish made me feel like absolute royalty.

tokonoma tuna tataki
Yellow fin tuna tataki with pistachio, radish and pickled fennel

What’s the difference between a piano and a fish?

You can’t tuna fish.

Heh, sorry. Another difference between a piano and a fish is that it’s not nearly as delicious when combined with pistachio, radish and pickled fennel. Make sure you have a bite of radish with each morsel of tuna as the mixture of textures is a memory you’ll be tataking with you to the grave.

Tokonoma scampi
New Zealand scampi nigiri with foie gras, truffle and soy jelly

Next time you see a line outside Tokonoma, it’s because all 17 of my readers had been convinced that this fresh and buttery dish was worth scamping out for.

Best thing to come out of New Zealand since the Lord of the Rings trilogy that’s for sure.

tokonoma california maki
California maki with Queensland spanner crab, tobiko and avocado

Creamy crab amd creamy avocado made this maki roll an absolute cream come true. The toboiko and cucumber added a bit of crunch to break up the creamy nature of the two main ingredients but drew everything together in amazing fashion.

California, knows how to maki.

tokonoma black cod
Black cod with saikyo miso and pickled ginger

Fans of miso will be ever so happy with this slice of black cod. Miso flavour is just ingrained in every fibre of this fish’s being. The cod’s skin is super crispy but might not appeal to everyone due to it’s almost-burnt nature. As someone who almost burns his own meals, the skin tasted like home to me.

You don’t want to be that guy that wanders by Tokonoma and wonder what cod’ve been.

You need to get up in there.

tokonoma circular quay

Here’s the TL;DR for everyone who was going to go to this restaurant tokonomatter what I said about it:

  • There are a lot of great Japanese restaurants in Sydney, but only one place that makes you think of the wizarding world scribed by J.K. Rowling and is just as magical.


Tokonoma, Circular Quay

44 Bridge Street

Opening Hours:

Monday: 5:30 – 11:00pm

Tuesday – Friday: 12:00 – 3:00pm, 5:30pm – 11:00pm

Saturday – Sunday: Closed

Tokonoma Sydney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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