Fo0die dined as a guest of Tora Eatery and Bar and as such, the rating does not give any consideration to customer service.
At the time we dined, Tora Eatery and Bar, had been opened for 6 months with an aim to be known for comfort food and street snacks. We arrived at the venue on a Friday evening via tram route 6 from the CBD which stopped basically across the road from the venue.
The venue is cosy but packs in a good amount of tables with small round tables out the front, a function room upstairs which also doubles up as extra seating space when required, seats around the bar on the left of the venue, tables on the right side of the bar and additional seating towards the back of the venue near the kitchen (behind the stairs).
In the evening, the venue is very dimly lit with shadows casting over the bar area and walls.
The menu is a mix of Taiwanese, Thai and Japanese influenced dishes, thanks to the head chef’s background and family (fun fact: the chef previously worked at Babasus and came up with the original Hong Kong waffle dish there which is one of our favourites in Melbourne!). With a section for snacks, sides, share and sweets, we asked how to best order from the menu for two and ended up with two snack dishes, three share dishes and a side.
To start, we shared the two snack dishes (both highly recommended by the team there and we could totally understand why after we tried them!). The fritters were deep fried goodness which we thought went extremely well with the sriracha cream sauce while the croquettes were creamy with a good amount of smoked hock inside. The tonkatsu sauce on top was a little too much for Mr J who is more conservative with his sauce to dish ratio in comparison to me; best summed up as sauce monster.
We are normally not huge fans of coconut, although we would have a coconut based curry so its not entirely off the board for us. So when we ordered the coconut ceviche, we were a little worried that the coconut flavour may overpower the dish. Our worries were not warranted, we could taste the slight sweetness of the sliced grapes and the fragrance from the green onions; very well balanced dish with a nice mix of textures.
One of the chef’s favourite dish is the rice noodle ragu which is a modern take of the Taiwanese style braised pork on rice that the chef had back at home. The dish was spicy with wide pieces of rice noodles in a sweet sauce and pieces of pork belly; we totally used our side of rice to use up the sauce.
Our last share dish was the miso butter barramundi which arrived with two fillets of barramundi. After having consecutively such flavoursome dishes, this dish in comparison was noticeably not as flavoursome with a very subtle miso butter flavour.
To finish off the night, we shared the brulee egg tart which was as expected for an egg tart, eggy with a flaky pastry, but not as brulee as one would have expected. What we loved about the dish was the fact it wasn’t overly sweet, so ‘not being as brulee-d’ is not a huge issue for us.
Comfort food and street snacks? We can comfortably say Tora Eatery and Bar ticked those boxes.
Dishes that make up this review
- Tempura corn fritters, shiso, nori, sriracha cream sauce ($12)
- Smoked hock croquettes, chilli tonkatsu sauce, karashi mayo ($10)
- Steamed rice ($4)
- Coconut ceviche; Hiramasa kingfish, grapes, tobiko, chilli, coriander, red onion, cassava cracker ($18)
- Rice noodle ragu, Taiwanese style braised pork, peanuts, chilli oil, tare sauce, shallots ($18)
- Miso butter barramundi; carrot ginger puree, sesame asparagus, tomato, salsa verde, candied walnuts ($24)
- Brulee egg tart; mandarin, berry sauce, almonds ($10)