From Noma to Newtown: Tokyo Taco Where Japanese meets Mexican

Tokyo Taco, Newtown

Japanese meets Mexican at Tokyo Taco. This fast food restaurant on busy King Street in Newtown sells tempura nori tacos, taco bowls and nachos with a Japanese spin on flavours. So what is fast food like when the chef behind Tokyo Taco has worked at NOMA?

Sophia and I are on our way home from an event and are feeling a bit peckish. "Have you heard of Tokyo Taco?" she said showing me a picture of seaweed nori tacos. I hadn't heard of them but I am always down for a riff on Japanese food, particularly sushi so we put it on the GPS and head there.

Tokyo Taco, Newtown

Tokyo Taco is buzzing this evening although the crowds will come and go in waves because Tokyo Taco is more a fast food kind of vibe. There's outdoor seating, indoor seating and bar seating at the open windows. There's murals and neon with plenty of branding to make it seem like franchsing is inevitable. We stare at the menu above the service counter along with a crowd of other people. Tacos are $13.90 but what we don't realise (spoiler) is that the tacos are larger than other seaweed nori tacos we've had and all you would need is a taco and to share a nachos and chips and that's plenty.

Tokyo Taco, Newtown

There are lots of different fillings or toppings here at Tokyo Taco: pulled pork, soy chicken, umami mushrooms, miso salmon, slow braised beef and vegan jackfruit. There are also upgrading options to change your baked salmon to sashimi salmon or your rice to brown or broccoli. You can either build your own taco, taco bowl or nachos or go with a pre-selected one.

We decide to get two meal packs because they include drinks. First is the taco meal that has two tacos plus a drink for $26.40 and a Nachos meal with chips and a drink for $30.90 (the prices are slightly confusing because if you don't want a Coke/sprite level of drink and a Strangelove one, you pay a bit more). The meal sets knock off a few dollars from your total.

Tokyo Taco, Newtown

Tokyo Taco, Newtown
Nachosu $17.50 and fries $5

While you order at the counter, they bring the food to your table for you. It's not long before our slow braised beef nachosu arrives with the chips. The chips are hot as promised and very moreish, I could have easily shared a large fries instead of medium although they do benefit from some sort of sauce. I jumped up and ordered the jalapeno sauce which is surprisingly tangy. The nachos are very generously portioned with a cascade of guacamole, edamame, black bean slsa, pico de gallo, jalapeno sauce, melted Jack cheese, crispy freshly fried corn chips and lots of soft, slow braised beef on top. What really makes this is the generous amount of guacamole. The chips are supposed to be blue corn chips but today they're not but that's fine.

Tokyo Taco, Newtown
Miso Salmon and Smokey Soy Chicken Taco $13.90 each

Then it comes time to tackle the tacos and we now see that each taco is quite large, double the size of the other mini nori tacos that we've had. Sophia has the miso salmon taco with sushi rice at the bottom, pickled cucumber, Japanese mayo, herbs and a mild caramelised chilli sauce. It's nice although I think I would have swapped out the cooked salmon for sashimi salmon for $2 extra.

Tokyo Taco, Newtown

As for me, I absolutely love the smokey adobo soy sauce chicken. At first, as it is Newtown I thought that soy chicken meant a vegan version of chicken but it's actual chicken cooked in sweet soy sauce which has so much flavour to it. This taco also has sushi rice, Japanese mayonnaise, mild caramelised chilli sauce but this taco has black sesame and jalapenos. I end up leaving a lot of the rice behind and just eating the top half of the taco with the chicken and seasonings although I will say that the taco shell remains nice and crunchy while eating.

"Who owns this place?" I ask Sophia before quickly googling and finding out that it is chef Jordan Hajek who has worked at Noma, Celsius Coffee Co in Kirribilli and Melbourne's Top Paddock cafe. Which sort of explains why it doesn't really taste like fast food.

There's a sundae for dessert and I had read that it was a plant based sundae but that has changed recently to a non plant based. They tell us that they're working on something to replace this with so we end up passing on dessert. Not that we needed it as we were so full.

So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever had nori seaweed tacos?

This meal was independently paid for.

Tokyo Taco

172 King St, Newtown NSW 2042

Sunday to Thursday 11am - 9pm

Friday & Saturday 11am - 10pm

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