A little (Tokyo) bird told us there’s a new small bar in Sydney and it’s serving up whisky, cocktails, and yakitori. For the last few months we’ve been following Tokyo Bird’s progression intently on Instagram, from the building of the space, to the soft launch to the eventual opening on Boxing Day last year. We got lost in the back streets of Surry Hills to see what’s going on at new Sydney bar, Tokyo Bird.
Opened by Jason Ang (Gilt and Sokyo) and Yoshi Onishi (Stitch and Victoria Room), Tokyo Bird is a Japanese bar and restaurant in Sydney that strives for perfection—a very Japanese ethos. Whether it be from the cocktails they create, the yakitori they grill, or the service they provide, this quest for perfection is there—and what’s not to love about that?!
Bar manager, Yoshi Onishi, is the winner of the NSW final of the Suntory Cup cocktail competition, so you know you’re in good hands when it comes to liquid refreshment. The idea is to not just slap a cocktail together, but to create a whole experience around the cocktail—watching the preparation, having the drink served to you, and the first sip.
Alongside the Japanese-inspired cocktail list you can get your classics as well as Tokyo Bird’s exclusive cocktails, for something a little different. We’re talking expertly created cocktails with a Japanese twist that include ingredients such as Calpis (a Japanese soft drink), nashi, and sake, to name a few. To be expected, there are a range of Japanese whiskies available as well as wine, sake, and Asahi on tap.
To accompany the drinking at Tokyo Bird are a range of bar snacks. Taking cues from Japanese izakayas, the idea is to eat and drink at the same time with both parts of the meal being as important as the other. Yakitori literally means grilled bird, and this is the primary food focus of Tokyo Bird. Cooked over a charcoal grill, these skewers range from chicken thighs to the more adventurous hearts and livers. Vegetarians won’t miss out on the skew-tastic fun either, with perfectly grilled vegetables brushed with their homemade tare (said tah-reh) sauce.
Beyond food on sticks, patrons can snack on cheese-injected arabiki sausages and deep-fried lotus roots, which are, unsurprisingly, already a crowd favourite. On top of the standard menu items at this new Sydney bar, specials frequently change depending on what’s available at the market. One day you could be biting into some crispy prawns, the next could a pork belly dish—the fun is in never knowing what specials might be gracing the menu.
With plans for whisky flights and tasting classes in the works, we’re expecting big things from this small Sydney bar. Whether you stay for a drink and a small bite to eat, or linger longer and try all the dishes (in true TUL style), you’re guaranteed to have leave Tokyo Bird with a smile. Just don’t get lost in the little alley on your way home.
Image credit: Lisa Brooke