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Streets of Japan to Tokyo Tina

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by Rachel Mason

The hustle and bustle of Chapel Street on an autumnal Saturday; enticing lunch time aromas sneaking out onto the sidewalk; the scene is set for Tokyo Tina to impress.

Found right in the heart of one of Melbourne’s culinary hotspots, the team at Tokyo Tina create a friendly atmosphere and accompany it with amazing eats. It’s an innovative restaurant, full of freshness and vibrant color. 

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The extensive drinks menu includes some classic Japanese ingredients with a modern twist, from Japanese Pour-Over to the Yuzuperdooper (frozen umenoyado yuzushu sake). Homemade non-alcoholic beverages like the Ginger Lemonade and Cucumber Yuzu embody the sweet and zesty - a perfect accompaniment to the sensational food. 

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Lunch begins with the Kingfish Cone, a ceviche mixed with wasabi and apple, and served in a small charcoal cone. The textural contrast and delicate taste create a perfect entree, activating the tastebuds and foreshadowing the delicious dishes to follow; all dancing in time to the sweet, salty, bitter, sour beat of Japanese food. 

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The Karaage Chicken Ribs with hot Gochujang sauce and lemon bring a spicy and sour hit, infused with a hint of sweetness and a satisfying crisp.

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Tokyo Tina’s DIY Beef Rib must be a crowd favourite - melt in the mouth sticky beef pulled off the bone and laid inside a light bao (steamed bun). Kewpie mayonnaise, Japanese lettuce and pickles all join the culinary party and beautifully contrast the rich, sticky meat. The multi-sensory nature of these dishes requires active involvement and multiple serviettes. 

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A clear standout is the Avocado Salmon, scoring on texture, subtle flavor, aroma and appearance. The fluffy rice, onion, creamy mango, fresh jalepeno and coconut ball, with a squeeze of lime juice, make the dish completely enjoyable.  No flavor profile overbearing; just skillfully balanced food. 

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The dishes are cleared and the idea of eating anything more seems entirely overwhelming, until our lovely waiter brings out the Matcha Matchsticks. These gluten free treats are a perfect end to the meal, layered with pistachio macaron, Matcha Maiden parfait and vanilla mousse. 

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It’s easy to imagine this place being an integral part of the Chapel Street night life, while also attracting hungry foodies on the hunt for the perfect lunch spot. It’s diverse in appeal, catering for romantic dinners, weekday drop ins and celebrations. 

Thanks to the team at Tokyo Tina for unbelievable food and incredible service!

Tokyo Tina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato