You’ve met Hannah and Sally, but do you know Tina? The third sibling of Hanoi Hannah and Saigon Sally fame, Tokyo Tina fuses Japanese, Korean and Aussie elements to present a completely different cuisine to her nearby sisters.
Owned and operated by Simon Blacher, Paul Nguyen and Nic Coulter, the Windsor restaurant is the third cog in their successful collection of restaurants, which started with Hannah and continued with Sally.
Here, the food of Japan is in the spotlight, and Adrian Li is the man shining the light. Having started with the team at Saigon Sally, he now leads the kitchen at Tina, watching over a team of fantastic chefs.
Take a seat on the green-tiled bar or one of the tall tables outside to sample what they are plating up. Open with raw offerings, such as Hervey Bay scallops with white ponzu, yuzu koshu and chives; or Wagyu beef tataki with miso mustard, pickled onion and fresh figs. Move on to snack on crispy karaage corn balls with sansho mayo and pig’s head croquettes with umeboshi plum.
Share plates start with okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) with yuzu aioli; pork and kimchi gyozas; and open California rolls with Western Australian spanner crab, avocado kewpie, cucumber and salmon roe. Larger plates include crispy skin teriyaki chicken with yuzu koshu and roasted chilli, and a Korean beef barbecue set.
DIY bao are a crowd favourite, letting you pile up as much sticky beef rib, pickles and kewpie as you can into each soft fluffy pillow. Ramen comes in four varieties: chicken, miso, spicy pork and spicy chicken with white sesame. Fresh poke bowls start with a base of rice, mango, onion and jalapeno coconut, topped with avocado and salmon.
Cocktails also sport a Japanese twist with plenty of Japanese liqueurs and spices making an appearance. Sake comes by the carafe or the bottle, with plenty of fruit sake options available for those who want to give it a try but aren’t too keen on it straight. An extensive list of Japanese whisky is offered alongside Japanese beers.
From the outside, Tokyo Tina looks like a run-down restaurant from the back streets of Japan. Tattered posters flank the walls and venetian blinds give it a grungy look. However, inside is fun and playful, with a fit-out paying homage to Japanese pop culture. Astro Boy and Sailor Moon anime greet you, with Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog figurines cropping up around the restaurant. It’s the ideal atmosphere to enjoy all that Tina has to offer.
Words by Beth Yeoman