Smoky, tender, and better than any yakitori I’ve ever had (all the yakitori I’ve had in the past was so bad that I’m tempted to make a yuckitori joke), I’m now questioning my beliefs – and wondering why there aren’t more Japanese bars in Sydney like this.
Tokyo Bird is a small Surry Hills bar that focuses on Japanese whiskey (their menu lists 19 varieties) and giving an oriental twist to classic cocktails – although they also have sake and a decent range of Japanese beer that extends beyond Asahi.
Their food menu is focused primarily on skewered meats – and that’s perfectly fine by me, although the liver yakitori stretches my comfort level.
The atmosphere here is low key, casual and fun. My slinky companion orders the Kansai cocktail, made with Bombay Sapphire, sake, and plum bitters ($18). It’s not a world away from a dry martini, and is served with a fresh leaf of shiso, which is slightly bitter and a little like mint – you’re meant to nibble on it while drinking.
I order the Infiniti cocktail, made with Nikka from the Barrel (a Japanese whiskey), vermouth and bitters – in other words, it’s essentially a Manhattan. I’m tempted to advise the bartender that they ought to call it the Tokyo instead, but for once I keep my mouth shut – after all, the cocktails (and certainly the yakitori) are good enough for me to want to be allowed back some time.
Tokyo Bird, open Monday to Saturday 5pm until late. Entry on Belmore Lane, Shop 2, 226-228 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills. See the Tokyo Bird website