First look: Edo Tori, where Japanese snacks never tasted so good

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Runze Liu knows it’s not an ideal time to open a new restaurant and bar in town, let alone half of Canberra in self-imposed lockdown and the other half in isolation.

But he hopes his fresh offerings of Japanese food accompanied by an expansive cocktail menu will entice diners to experience his latest venture, Edo Tori.

The high ceilings of the historic Melbourne building and two large dining areas also have some appeal right now in terms of maintaining social distance.

Located on the spot where Momoda and Soju Girl once sat, Edo Tori has been designated in dark colors with plenty of banquet seats and walls of Japanese art.

Although the food also looks artful, Runze is eager to point out that Edo Tori is a relaxed place, prices are surprisingly low, and conversations with friends about chicken yakitori and an Asahi Superdry (one of the eight beers on tap) should be encouraged .

But that does not mean that he has not made great efforts to make a menu that crosses Japan’s favorite snacks – charred edamame with homemade togarashi, softshell crab tempura and fried pork gyoza for starters.

Those who want to make an evening out of it may want a selection from the raw bar, such as salmon with yuzu wasabi, ponzu and nori or the kingfisher with yuzukosho, coconut, ponzu and coriander.

The really hungry might want to chase it up with chicken yakitori with any part of the chicken (vegetarian options) or maybe a steaming bowl of udon or don, with chicken or seafood.

Since only two dishes on the extensive menu are priced over $ 20, you can afford to order as much as you want.

And do not forget cocktails, which include delicious combinations such as Choumame Iced Tea with Haku vodka, Roku gin, tequila, rum, triple sec and buttefly pea flower, or Sakura, with Nigori sake, Japanese gin and hibiscus.

As is the case with many bars these days, there is also a solid focus on mocktails – our selection of the Summer Cup of peach, dragon fruit, cucumber, mint, orange and lemon.

Runze was lured to Canberra about eight years ago to study IT, and he fell head over heels in love with the buzz of the hospitality industry. He opened his first venue, B One, a modest Asian fusion restaurant, at the other end of the Melbourne Building a few years ago.

Then came Yaki Boi on Lonsdale Street in Braddon.

“I came to Canberra to study, but found that I just love to eat and cook,” he said.

Although Runze understands that the city may be a little sensitive to going out and eating right now, he hopes that in the long run Edo Tori will cement himself as a fun and funky place to have a bite with both the city’s workers and students. .

As it opens Wednesday through Sunday to launch, Runze has its heart set on serving tasty Japanese snacks seven days a week.

All photos by Zachary Griffith from Botanist Creative.

The essentials:

Edo Tori opens today
Where: 41 Northbourne Avenue, Civic
Opening hours: 12.00-23.00 Wednesday to Sunday.

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