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  1. One of the dining rooms at Tanuki with the gorgeous 30 year old tree
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  2. One of the dining rooms at Tanuki
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  3. Prawn and scallop sushi at Tanuki
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  4. A cocktail at Tanuki
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  5. The matcha tiramisu at Tanuki
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  6. The tuna cripsy rice at Tanuki
    Photograph: Avril Treasure

Time Out says

Double Bay has scored a modern Japanese choose-your-own-adventure-restaurant, with Midori-spiked cocktails, Wagyu sambos and matcha tiramisu

Double Bay has welcomed a modern Japanese restaurant called Tanuki. It’s by the Matteo team, and is dotted on swish and happening Bay Street. There are many things to like about Tanuki, named after the Japanese raccoon dog, which in folklore is believed to have powers to shapeshift. Firstly, the venue is multifaceted, with alfresco seating out the front, a polished dining room decorated with blue artworks by artist Daimon Downey and warm wood, an outdoor courtyard anchored by a gorgeous 30-year-old Japanese liquid amber tree, and then down the back, there's a moody and slick bar area for late-night rendezvous and cocktails. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure-restaurant. Keen for a glass of crisp white and sashimi? Take a seat at the sushi counter. What about sake and a couple of Wagyu skewers charred on the robata grill? Sure thing. A long lunch with friends? Sign us up.

The second thing to like about Tanuki is the food. The kitchen is headed up by head chef Ken Wee Lee, who cut his teeth working at Sushi E and Toko. The menu is broken up into raw, sashimi, nigiri, sushi rolls, small plates, tempura, robata, larger numbers and sides. Choose a couple of dishes from each section and enjoy the ride. You could (and should) kick off with slices of sashimi the colour of ruby jewels. Other standouts include golden crunchy crispy rice adorned with spicy tuna and mayo; Tanuki’s signature sushi roll expertly crafted with panko prawns, seared scallops and avo; chicken karaage with kimchi mayo and honey soy; and crisp skin Murray cod with charred tomato relish, and a chilli and daikon ponzu. There’s also a Wagyu sambo – pimped up with mushroom duxelle and truffles – for $85, if you’re feeling splashed with cash.

For dessert, there’s a miso caramel parfait; a passionfruit and pineapple pavlova with yuzu sorbet; and a matcha tiramisu – a Japanese remix of the Italian staple. Creamy mascarpone imparts a delicious vanilla flavour, there’s a lick of matcha thanks to a green tea cream, plus a milk crumb. It’s sweet, but the tiramisu arrives in a small cube, so it’s just the right amount. Order that.

We also dig the cocktails, which are created by bar manager Sean Guardian (ex-Mr Wong). Guardian tells Time Out he’s keen to make Midori happen (again). You can taste it in ‘Use Your Illusion’ made with Japanese melon, coconut liquor, kabosu lime and jalapenos. There’s also a ‘Geisha’ cocktail with ink gin, passion fruit, Falernum (a Caribbean liquor) and sparkling sake; as well as ‘Saketini’.

If you’re keen to dip your toes into the sake pool a bit deeper, Tanuki’s sake list is fun and approachable, with something for both novices and seasoned drinkers, says general manager Joong Charpentier.

And because Tanuki is in ritzy Double Bay, dress up. The evening we went we sat next to a fabulous RHOS star, and every second table was wearing pumps. It’s all part of the fun.


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Avril Treasure
Written by
Avril Treasure


37 Bay St
Double Bay
View Website
Opening hours:
Wed-Fri 5.30pm-midnight; Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10pm
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