Photography by Anthea Horton
490 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
02 9357 6100
Tokonoma Sochu Bar and Lounge is the much-anticipated third venture from the team behind the neighbouring Toko restaurant. The popularity of Toko and the ensuing demand for space has been huge, increasing exponentially over the last couple of years. Tokonoma’s bar manager, Paul Birtwistle explains: “Through Tokonoma Shochu Bar and Lounge we have been able to expand Toko as a restaurant, while at the same time creating an entirely new destination for lovers of all things Japanese.”
While sake normally steals the limelight, shochu, Japan’s other indigenous beverage, is distilled from a number of raw materials including barley, buckwheat, sweet potato and sugar making it a perfect cocktail ingredient and cocktails just happen to a Tokonoma speciality. Tokonoma’s extensive cocktail menu offers a selection of infused shochu tonics, the finest Japanese sake and a wide variety of Japanese whiskies and liqueurs. Skilfully devised by Paul and his team at Toko over the last three years, Tokonoma’s cocktail menu makes use of homemade syrups, sodas, and tinctures; vanilla infused egg whites and freshly squeezed juices. The back bar is not not to be over either with luxury drops like Havana Club Maximo Extra Añejo Cuban rum weighing in at trifling $180 per serve.
To compliment drinks a pared down menu of delicious bite-sized Japanese dishes from Toko’s menu is on offer, which you can enjoy in the smooth and fluid look and feel of Tokonoma’s space designed by architect Matt Darwon, who first worked his magic on Toko. Artist, Reni Kung, who created the stunning sun-like light sculpture comprising 60,000 matchsticks next-door, has once again used everyday raw materials to create a light sculpture for Tokonoma. Made entirely of lentils, perspex, resin and metal objects, the sculpture is an impressive 11 metres long and is entitled ‘Water’. Opening hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 5:30pm – midnight.