From Wagyu To White Kimchi, Toei Brings Affordable Fusion Feasts To Surry Hills

Eat, Sydney / 12 March 2024

Who says good food has to be expensive?

Surry Hills, a Sydney neighbourhood renowned for its vibrant dining scene, has welcomed a new resident – Toei. Stepping into the former Bar Soul space on Campbell Street, Toei offers a unique take on modern Asian-Australian cuisine, led by Chef Kevin Jeon.

Jeon, with a decade of experience under his belt at acclaimed Sydney restaurants like Bentley and the Kolture Group, brings a passion for affordability and flavour exploration to Toei. “I always dreamed of opening a wine bar,” Jeon admits, “but right now, my focus is developing a food menu that showcases my love for Asian cuisine with a touch of Western influence.”

This fusion philosophy is evident from the very first bite. The snack menu, a personal favourite for Jeon when crafting the menu, allows diners to venture into various flavours without breaking the bank. Imagine a Shio bread, a Japanese twist on the classic dinner roll, arriving warm and fragrant, begging to be slathered with the accompanying nori butter. Or perhaps delicate Sydney rock oysters, their natural brine perfectly complemented by a white kimchi mignonette, a touch of Korean flair that adds a pleasant zing. Meanwhile, the Korean beef tartare with its melt-in-your-mouth texture and accompanying puff pastry offers a modern interpretation of a classic.

Moving beyond the shareable snacks, the main course options showcase Jeon’s culinary diversity. Pastafarians can rejoice in the orecchiette, a vibrant combination of anchovies and white kimchi, packing a flavour punch. Meanwhile, those seeking something more substantial might find themselves drawn to the buttermilk fried quail, a comforting dish with a touch of Southern-style charm.

Toei Pate Crostini

Adventure beckons with the octopus, intricately glazed with a Korean chilli paste, a dish that promises a dance of sweet and spicy on the palate. For steak lovers, the Wagyu MB6 hanger steak with its black garlic galbi sauce offers a luxurious indulgence, while the 15-day dry-aged duck with Davidson plum teriyaki sauce presents a symphony of sweet, savoury, and smoky notes.

Affordability remains a core value at Toei. Diners can choose from à la carte options or opt for the $79 tasting menu, allowing Jeon to curate a flavourful journey. There’s also a $59 snack-tasting menu, perfect for a light bite and a taste of everything, including the crowd-favourite quail katsu.

The restaurant’s interior reflects a similar philosophy. Jeon has retained the clean lines and warm tones of the previous space, adding pops of colour with vibrant Korean street art. The result is a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a casual weeknight dinner or a catch-up with friends.

With its focus on flavourful Asian-inspired dishes, a commitment to affordability, and a welcoming ambience, Toei is poised to become a new favourite in Surry Hills’ ever-evolving culinary landscape. To end your meal on a refreshing note, consider the shiso granita with rhubarb sorbet, a delightful fusion of sweet and tart that perfectly cleanses the palate.

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