Brekky Okonomiyaki… a savoury Japanese-style fritter loaded with ingredients. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Tokyo Canteen is refreshingly different and its aim is to ‘bring a little memory of Japanese home-style meals into every day.’ Gotcha,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

JAPANESE cuisine is hot in Canberra. We just can’t get enough of it.

Wendy Johnson.

Tokyo Canteen, which popped up at Eyre Street Market several months ago, is pure evidence of our passion for the flavours of Japan. It’s pumping.

On a sunny afternoon we perched ourselves on one of the communal picnic tables in the centre of the market square to get our fix of Tokyo Canteen’s yum food. 

The menu is a blend of Japanese favourites, plus some dishes created with innovative interpretation.

Dean Han, who was with the Chairman Group for years, including groovy Lilo Tang in Barton and Lanterne Rooms when at the Campbell shops, has got a good thing going with Tokyo Canteen. The food is amazing. It’s not expensive. The fitout is cool and contemporary. The location is in the middle of the action.

The compact all-day lunch menu (8.30am to 3pm) features dishes like Japanese curry ($19), BBQ eel ($26), udon carbonara ($21) and kuro vegetable salad ($18).

Panko chicken sando… a thick slice of crumbed warm chicken sandwiched in thick slices of soft bread, with addictive lotus chips. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The panko chicken sando ($18) caught my eye, and it truly hit the spot. The thick slice of crumbed warm chicken – crispy on the outside and moist on the inside – is sandwiched in thick slices of soft bread and held together with a long skewer. The house pickles were tangy, baby cos lettuce crunchy and Japanese BBQ mayonnaise creamy. The lotus chips with nori salt were addictive (and I mean addictive). Even my friend kept digging in.

All-day breakfast is also available, and my friend ordered the Brekky Okonomiyaki ($20). This Japanese-style fritter is savoury and loaded with ingredients. Mushrooms provide an earthy flavour combined with cabbage and to perk up the flavours, Tokyo Canteen adds Japanese BBQ sauce. The fried egg is topped with heaps of Bonito flakes.

Other intriguing breakfast items include an umami mushroom toast, with exotic mushrooms sautéed in house miso ($19), a no-doubt amazing agedashi tofu ($19) and Ginza honey toast, for those who love a sweet brekkie. It’s created with thick caramelised shokupan (Japanese milk bread loaf) with matcha mascarpone, freeze-dried berries, matcha sticks and black sesame ice cream ($21).

How the crew creates such wonders in a tiny kitchen is mind-boggling.

Kids are well taken care of at Tokyo Canteen. They can joyfully dive into crispy chicken on rice or tofu katsu on rice (both dishes $12).

Beverages at Tokyo Canteen include great coffees, Japanese soft drinks and a long list of premium Japanese teas, including a grapefruit green tea which sounds fabulous ($8).

Tokyo Canteen is refreshingly different and its aim is to ‘bring a little memory of Japanese home-style meals into every day.’ Gotcha.

Tokyo Canteen has ramen night Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 5pm (walk-ins only).

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