63 Crown St
Woolloomooloo, NSW 2011
In between running wedding-related errands, we ducked into Toki Italian Inspired for a quick refuelling stop.
Although located fairly close to the CBD, Toki is actually tucked away into a quiet side street, away from the restaurant-heavy side of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. Judging by its proximity to office buildings, polite décor, and the general lack of hubbub at dinnertime, I get the impression that Toki mostly functions as a corporate lunch spot, plus the occasional takeaway dinner for locals.
Toki utlises the formula I first came across at Etto – you pick your pasta, pick your sauce, maybe customise with an add-in or two, and then they make your creation to order. And when given the option, I find it very hard to go past Spaghetti Polpette ($18), aka the classic spaghetti and meatballs. I was rather impressed with both the noodles and the sauce; the al dente strands were coated liberally with a rich tomato sugo that tasted of summer, and a drizzle of good olive oil added body. The meatballs however were awful; although generous in quantity, the homogenous texture and lack of seasoning made them worthy of a frozen meal.
It was a similar story with the Linguini Calarizo ($22). The white wine-based sauce was promisingly aromatic when mixed through with the cooked-down cherry tomatoes and ample amounts of olive oil, and the flavour clung well to the pasta. Unfortunately it was once again let down by the poor quality toppings. The chorizo was fatty and bland, whilst the calamari would’ve been completely lost within amongst the pasta, if not for the slight difference in texture.
Dinner at Toki was nothing special, yet despite that, I didn’t leave feeling dissatisfied. It’s clear that Toki is designed to be a place for a quick, affordable, and (dare I say it) Italian-inspired meal, and it did that perfectly well. I wouldn’t recommend coming out especially to eat here, but if you live or work nearby, this is a nice, easy spot if you’re feeling the pasta.
Rating: 12/20 – instant gratification.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.