Interview with our head chef at the Cave (by Bunny eats design)


Tanuki’s Cave has legendary status in Auckland. Located down under Queen Street it has a bunker-like quality making it a cosy haven for tasty bites and your choice of Asahi, Sapporo or sake. Their yakitori (skewers) comes 2 sticks per order making it perfect for intimate dinners. They have vegetarian and safe options like chicken, steak and pork belly as well as hearts, liver, giblets and tongue for the more adventurous. If you get a chance, try the chicken hearts! The Koala and I celebrated one of our wedding anniversaries at Tanuki’s Cave…meat on sticks and flowing booze for two. It was perfect.

A Tanuki is a Japanese racoon dog and has significant meaning in Japanese folklore. A great dinner and movie paring for Tanuki’s Cave would be
Pom Poko, an animation about Tanuki’s and their magical testicles. Yes, you read that correctly, I said testicles. Did I mention it’s a kid’s movie?pompoko1

Tasty questions with Takehiro Ito, Tanuki’s Cave

Takehiro Ito is the Head Chef at Tanuki’s Cave and below are his  answers to the
tasty questions I cooked up for your enjoyment.

Describe your restaurant’s food:

Traditional, creative, Japanese.

What is your restaurant’s signature dish?

Our simple yakitori chicken.

Name your favourite comfort food:


What did you have for breakfast?

A banana.

What is the most delicious thing you’ve eaten this week?


What is an underrated ingredient?

Scotch fillet.

What are 3 sources of inspiration to you?

Yakitori sauce, mince, and our famous spinach salad dressing.

Favourite restaurant?

There’s a potluck dinner tomorrow night (and you’re not working) what are you bringing?

Saikyo-yaki salmon (saikyo miso is a sweet miso marinade from Kyoto).

What is your most memorable meal?

Crayfish sashimi in Japan.
written by   Thanks Bunny! x The Cave

The New Zealand Herald

Kura Sake Bar, Auckland CBD

Many of the big cities in Japan have a thriving maze of underground eateries that are clustered around the train stations, catering for the throngs of hungry commuters. They are small, hole-in-the-wall type venues where workers grab a quick snack to see them through the journey home.

Well, Auckland has its own hidden gems below Queen St. A few doors up from the Town Hall you’ll find a discreet slatted door. Slide this open, descend the steep stairs, duck through the traditional Japanese noren (curtain), and you’ll find yourself in Kura Sake Bar.

Don’t be put off by the name – Kura Sake Bar is much more than a bar. It occupies what was once a grain storage facility in historic Auckland and it’s a fascinating space for a restaurant. The enormous exposed stone wall that holds up Queen St, so solid and rough, is contrasted with delicate silk kimonos that are draped across the dark stone. An open fire blazes its way through the winter chill and low lighting increases the sense of cosiness and intimacy.

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