66A Chapel St
Windsor, VIC 3181
Tokyo Tina is one of the OG Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne. And whilst we’re well and truly out of the fancy Asian food fad – wine bars are where it’s at now – there’s no doubt that Tokyo Tina is still a whole heap of fun. Although the spot is a bit too dark and buzzy for deep and meaningful conversations, the retinue of snacky share plates, paired with the decidedly Asian cocktail list, makes it easy to sit back and just let the good times roll.
Rating: 13.5/20 – hot girl tina.
Must-order: crispy eggplant.
Salmon Tartare ($26) has been done to death by this point, and I won’t pretend that this changes the game. I do however appreciate the freshness of the fish, and having a boldly crispy cracker, instead of feathery tasteless mush that disintegrates as soon as you put anything on top, is a plus. I do wish the salmon itself was seasoned a little more generously though.
Everyone raves about the Crispy Sticky Eggplant ($22), and eating it is truly just a little ecstatic. The sweet and sour red vinegar sauce is so addictive, and the tempura batter on the eggplant was crunchy enough to hold up under the sticky sauce, without overwhelming the soft eggplant. Once again, this is not breaking new ground, but it is treading the well-worth path with panache.
If you love duck but hate how expensive it usually is, the Umeboshi Duck Bao Set ($38, 4pcs) is for you. Even though it only comes with four buns, you get an entire fillet of tender, still-pink duck to go with it. Let loose and stuff a few slices into the fluffy bao with some sriracha mayo and pickles – you’ll have plenty left to just chow down on.
I confess – I was swayed into ordering the Grilled Chicken Marinated in Koji ($36) by the stellar chicken dish I had at Tokyo Tina’s sister restaurant, Firebird. And this reminded me of why I never usually get the chicken. This was perfectly nice and well-cooked, but like most roast chicken dishes, there’s just nothing exciting about it at all.
The Broccolini ($16) was also a smidge unexciting, and I wasn’t convinced that the thin soy milk dressing was the ideal condiment. It did however take full advantage of the charcoal grill out back to really bring out those toasty flavours in the fronds.