It has been so long since my last visit to Tojo Restaurant. I celebrated my birthday here about three years ago, and I enjoyed the food here. Recently, Tojo Restaurant launches Cocktail Hour, which allows guests to enjoy handcrafted cocktails and small bites. If you have never tried their dishes here, Cocktail Hour is the best time for you to try some of their dishes in smaller portions and more affordable price. I got a sneak peak of their Fall/Winter seasonal cocktails, as well as its food pairing.
The cocktail menu is lovingly crafted by an award-winning mixologist and Canada’s Top Bartender 2019, Jeff Savage. All cocktails at Tojo Restaurant are handcrafted and they put a lot of thoughts and care to ensure the food pairing is best suitable to highlight and complement the cocktails. During the fall/winter season, they are featuring six cocktails, and each has a unique tasting notes to pair with different dishes.
We started our meal with a popular, classic drink in Japan, Japanese Highball. It combines Suntory Toki with Bittered Sling Lem-Marrakech Bitters, and soda. This refreshing drink is simple, delicious, and low-calorie. It is recommended to pair with Tofu Ankake and Miso Mustard Lotus Root.
Tofu Ankake pairs deep-fried organic tofu, eggplant, with a thick ankake sauce. It is a light, and I am also surprised by the crisp from the tofu even it is soaked in the ankake sauce.
Miso Mustard Lotus Root is crunchy and slightly spicy. I enjoyed the pairing with Japanese Highball, because the refreshing flavor from the cocktail eases the heaviness from the lotus root.
Tokaido 53 is a vibrant martini riffs, using Bison Grass Vodka, Kazuki Gin, herb, and citrus oil. As I’m allergic to vodka, so I wasn’t able to get a sip from it. However, the recommended food pairing is spectacular – Tojo’s Chowder and Tojo’s Tuna.
Tojo’s Chowder includes assorted seafood, such as mussels and salmon, along with vegetables. It is thick and creamy, and the seafood elevates the overall flavor. However, as I am not a big fan of onion, I would have to pass on this one.
Tojo’s Tuna is Chef’s signature dish with wild albacore and a wasabi sesame sauce. It comes in two sizes, but I think the regular size still has a generous amount of tuna. The tuna is fresh, and the sauce adds a hint of citrus flavor to the dish.
Salaryman is a stern cocktail, most suitable to drink after a long day of work. It is Tojo Restaurant’s take on an Old Fashioned, using Japanese Whiskey blend with notes of matcha and black sesame. It is recommended to serve with Royal Chicken and BBQ Scallop.
Royal Chicken is deep fried stuffed chicken roll. I love the addition of plum sauce on the side, as it adds a nice, tarte twist to the dish.
I am so excited to try the BBQ Scallop because it comes with the shell, along with seasonal vegetables, including beets, snow peas, carrot, and mushroom. Scallop is cooked and seasoned perfectly.
Tojo’s Milk Punch is one of my favourite cocktails. It is sweet and smooth. It combines Bank’s 5 Island Rum, shiso, sencha, mint, lime, and clarified milk. It is dangerously delicious, because the alcohol flavor is subtle, which makes it easy to drink. It also pairs with my favourite dish of the night, Dashimaki + Caviar, along with Tojo Roll.
Dashimaki + Caviar is stunning, and it comes with few pieces of tamago topped with ikura and tobiko. The tamago has a strong dashi broth flavor, and the saltiness of ikura and tobiko complements the hint of sweetness from the egg omelette. I can probably eat few plates of this!
Kitsune Gimlet is my most favourite cocktail of the night, which combines namesake Kazuki Gin, yuzu, and honey. Again, the alcohol flavor is subtle, and it is easy to drink. It is also refreshing, with a tarte, floral, and citrusy tasting note. It is best to pair with Dragon’s Sweet Potatoes and Citrus and Sea Salt Wings.
The Citrus and Sea Salt Wings uses organic chicken and prepared in special way, which allows guests to eat them with ease. The drumsticks are transformed into lollipops, and wings are cut in half. I found the chicken is slightly overpowered by the sea salt. Otherwise, it is an amazing dish to pair with the refreshing, tarte Kitsune Gimlet.
If you are not a big fan of cocktails, you can also order a spirit-free Nitobe Garden Fizz and pair with Wagyu Sukiyaki. The mocktail features Seedlip Garden 108, along with matcha, herb, citrus oil, and soda.
Wagyu Sukiyaki is our last course, and I immediately fell in love with the wagyu beef. It melts in my mouth instantly. The sukiyaki also comes with bok choy and carrot.
If you are looking for something more flavorful to pair with your drinks, you can try their daily special on yakitori. Dragon-san makes amazing yakitori with premium quality ingredients.
Though I am not a big fan of alcoholic drinks, there are some cocktails that still surprise me – Kitsune Gimlet and Tojo’s Milk Punch. Each cocktail’s food pairing is also equally delicious. Dashimaki + Caviar is definitely my top choice, along with the BBQ Scallop and Wagyu Sukiyaki. The Cocktail Hour at Tojo’s Restaurant is available on Monday to Thursday from 4 to 6 pm. I think it is a good restaurant to mingle with friends, while enjoying premium food quality and handcrafted cocktails.
Taste : 4/5 • Service: N/A • Ambiance: 4.5/5 • Quality-Price: N/A