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Meaning little brother in Japanese, Ototo is the underground, more rebellious, better sharer, more casual and more spirit based little brother to Akaiito.
Sound familiar? Every family has one. Full disclosure, I’m the youngest in my family so I may have a bias.
I’ve noticed a trend in Melbourne, a way to repurpose old banks. Restaurants like Reine & La Rue, Kumo, Prohibition, of course the Bank on Collins all use the bones of old banks, some keeping the vaults, others little heritage details.
Ototo has the exposed bluestone walls, heritage iron grating, large restored wooden columns and original ceiling beams against the perimeter of grey leather and velvet booths. Both upstairs and downstairs have this beautiful red river of light flowing through the roof – it’s a play on the Japanese legend that an invisible red thread that connects them to the people they are destined to meet and be connected to in their lives.
I actually struggled ordering because everything on the menu is what you’d normally pick on a bigger menu. They have taken all the favourites from Akaiito and all the crowd pleasers and put them on one menu.
Chef, Winston Zhang was born in China and although it’s a Japanese restaurant I loved seeing his heritage leak through in the dishes, like the drunken edamame. They used to pickle everything and he used to eat them as a kid on summer days as a snack.
The Wagyu Tataki is their all-time most…