The Edo Tori Lunch Express menu is a great way to have a touch of fine dining in a fraction of the time.
Edo Tori is the latest offering by Runze Liu – the mastermind behind the popular fusion frenzies of B-One and Yaki Boi in Civic and Braddon. This time he’s focussing on serving up modern Japanese classics. The decor still contains a hat tip to modernism with eye-catching artwork of Coke bottle ships fighting the giant squid under a pop-art Great Wave, along with Technicolor paper umbrellas and lanterns strung from the ceiling.
It’s a big space inside, and while I imagine it might get noisy when it’s packed on a Saturday night, this Thursday lunchtime, it’s comfortably full but not hectic. I’m having a mid-week catchup with my Mum, a vegetarian, and we’re told that the express lunch menu can be altered to suit.
The $39 express menu includes six dishes which are individually quite small morsels, but when put together create a very satisfying feed.
I’ve opted for the carnivorous offering and start with a ceviche nori taco: small pieces of raw fish cured in a zingy citrus dressing served in a crunchy seaweed cup. I am a big fan of ceviche and I love this dish. The nori ‘taco’ shell is an excellent textural addition to the soft, fresh fish.
The first vegetarian dish is lotus chips and I immediately pinch some from Mum’s plate. They’re perfectly crisp and have a moreish mayo for dipping.
The seafood theme continues with slices of salmon in a beautifully balanced ponzu sauce, which is like a citrus vinaigrette. Uramaki rolls (think of regular sushi but with the rice on the outside) are filled with salmon and avocado and served with sinus-opening wasabi and zingy pickled ginger. Handmade dumplings and avocado rolls are the vegetarian alternatives.
We both get to try the tempura veggies which are served in a quirky fan-shaped dish.
I’d never had enoki mushrooms served this way: each thin mushroom was super crispy but the earthy flavour was really distinct. Agedashi Tofu is another dish on both menus, although the paper-thin bonito flakes are just for me. The tofu is lovely, crisp on the outside and so silky soft on the inside. I would have enjoyed a touch more of the broth, but it was delicious nonetheless.
We also try the grilled eggplant – an addition to the express meal – which has a sticky sweet miso glaze and is tender and delicious.
The final course is the most substantial for us both.
For me, a miniature gyudon bowl of short, fat rice grains, thin slices of meat and an onsen egg (also called a 63-degree egg). Breaking up the egg and stirring it through the rice gives the dish a creamy consistency. It’s a delicious dish, and I am definitely satisfied when I finish. A large plate of fried Chinese cauliflower dusted with tasty spices and a nutty dipping sauce finishes the meal nicely for Mum.
Because I don’t need to be in the office for the afternoon, I order a tasty Lychee Mojito, and Mum sticks to the non-alcoholic Yuzu Spritz. In hindsight, the mojito wasn’t too strong so I would have been office-fit after all. As we weren’t in a particular hurry, we took our time over the meal, but we’re told it can be achieved in under 45 minutes for those looking to make maximum use of their lunch hour.
As a treat, we have a taste of the matcha cheesecake for dessert, which is absolutely delicious. The matcha flavour isn’t too overpowering, and a sweet and sour fruit puree offsets the creaminess of the cheesecake beautifully.
Looking at the rest of the menu, there’s plenty to pique my interest for another meal another time. I’m particularly intrigued by the yakitori options and the raw bar options. They also run seasonal specials that are worth keeping an eye out for.
Overall, a delicious lunch and an excellent way to catch up with your Mum – or whoever else you might like to take to lunch!