Meet Camila, 5 years ago she left her small hometown in Brazil for the Big Smoke. Here for university originally, she like many of us, fell in love with our dear Emerald City and like many of us do, an Australian boy. As a converted Sydney Sider her favourite restaurant is Toko, the jewel in Australia's crown.
The iconic Sydney institution sits in the heart of cultural melting pot, Surry Hills where politicians and hipsters alike eating at the same restaurants, drinking at the same bars. On the bustling city street, onlookers stroll past Toko to watch diners graze over the unconventional seafood creations plated by Head Chef Regan Porteous.
Camila, the Graphic Designer at Belle & Bloom, frequents the Sydney haunt to fine-dine on her favourite dishes and cocktails. I meet Camila there one evening, being a rather cold evening, the former model wears her cream Higher Love Cropped Cable Knit Jumper toting the Almost Famous Leather Satchel, the handbag, part of their new collection, in the latte colourway. I wear a few pieces from the new A/W collection as well, the Just Friends leather jacket in black, the feature piece.
A life long vegetarian, I remember my may trips to Japan. It was incredibly difficult to find dishes I could eat, I don't know what to expect.
As I peruse the menu, I find it to be unusually vegan/vegetarian friendly, especially for a Japanese restaurant. Camilla having been to the popular eatery dozen of times is ready to order in minutes while I um and ah for awhile. We order Roku Gin Martinis in the time we wait for me to make up my mind.
I finally decide.
'The eggplant miso please.', I hear myself say. 'And edamame! Oh wait wait wait, the vegan ramen too!'. I'm in my own private Japanese heaven. Camilla takes a more traditional route.
'The hiramasa kingfish with yuzu truffle please and the scallops', the kingfish from South Australia and the scallops accented with picked apple and grilled jalapeno.
As we eat, I understand why Camila prizes Toko; fresh, contemporary and healthy. Whilst we eat far too much and chat way too long, she tells me about the newest Belle and Bloom wool coat collectionand soon to be introduced shoe line. Inspired by the women of Paris; effortless, stylish and chic, think Jeanne Damas, Marion Cotillard, Vanessa Paradis. I'm sold.
Too full for dessert, we indulge in one more cocktail before we head our seperate ways. Until next time.