Tokyo Tina is a relatively new addition to Chapel Street, but is quickly becoming a fast favourite. It’s no wonder it’s already so popular, coming from the team behind Saigon Sally and Hanoi Hannah, these guys really know what hangry Melburnians are after. If you haven’t yet checked out this groovy geisha, then what the heck is stopping you from slipping on those clogs and getting your posterior down to Windsor, pronto!
Inspired by a trip to Japan, the modern and exciting menu is designed by part owner Adrian Li (along with other owners Charlie Rothery, Paul Nguyen, Simon Blacher and Nic Coulter), with George Proudfoot heading the kitchen. The flavours dished up are truly unique to the Melbourne dining scene, and spot on with satisfying, on trend flavours.
Think DIY Bao, with slow cooked beef rib so tender knives are rendered redundant, tangy pickles and kewpie mayo. Not only delicious, but also fun to construct. The Karaage Chicken Ribs with gochujang take finger licking to a whole new level, and stand strong against the competitive range of fried chicken offered in Melbourne. Another must try is the Tempura Eggplant with miso chawanmushi, featuring delicate but filling lightly battered eggplant in a creamy textural egg custard.
There are two absolute stand outs when it comes to eating at Tokyo Tina, though. The House Made Pork and Kim Chi Gyoza took me a few visits to order, as my theory was; I’ve had gyoza. Heck, I’ve had great gyoza, how special could it be? Let me help you learn from my mistake: order the gyoza. Adrian Li tells me it’s a time consuming process, hand folding the beautiful little dumplings, and a lot of care goes into them. Well, it’s apparent the second you taste one of these flavourful little morsels. They really pack a punch and shatter your expectations of what friggin’ awesome gyoza really is.
The other dish I was lucky enough to order on my first visit, and it’s a non negotiable inclusion upon every return visit; the Wagyu Beef Tataki with miso mustard and figs. Without exception this dish is always exceptional. Tasty, light, refreshing, tangy and beautiful. Guys, please don’t ever take this off the menu!
Tokyo Tina also offer a range of desserts, but the adorable Tokyo Banana ice cream sandwiches with banana mousse, salted caramel parfait and macarons are another one on my list to always select. Call me predictable, but I’ve turned Tokyo Tina into my four-suburb-over local, and it’s hard to go past my always outstanding favourites.
The bar staff really know their stuff, too, with a range of contemporary and flavourful wines, international spirits, and of course a smashing range of Japanese sake. The cocktails are show-stopping, and the service goes above and beyond, with everyone keen for a chat, or a thoughtful recommendation.
Tokyo Tina serves up the quality of a high end restaurant, at an accessible price point, with a finely polished but casual manner. Pop in to see the gang for a visit, sip some sake, and order some gyoza. You won’t be disappointed.
Rated out of 10
66a Chapel Street, Windsor
(03) 9347 3312
Monday & Tuesday, 5pm till late
Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm till late
All images copyright © Megan Osborne, please do not use without permission.