Playful Eats

By Fiona Stocker.

People often ask Jonny and Ally McCoy of Pachinko where their restaurant’s name comes from. The answer is, Japan, like some of the inspiration for their cuisine.

Like many chefs, the pair travelled widely in Europe and Asia drawing inspiration from the foods in many countries – and in Jonny’s case returning home with a collection of vintage art-deco matchboxes. One of those was emblazoned with the name of an arcade game - Pachinko.

‘We thought it was a fun name, it hinted at Japanese leaning cuisine and was a bit playful and cheeky,’ says Jonny, on a rare break between lunch and dinner in Quadrant Mall.

The playfulness that Pachinko is fast becoming known for is perhaps in the skillful mixing of those influences. While they pull elements from Japanese, Chinese and Korean food as well as modern Australian, the pair don’t subscribe to any style too strictly. ‘It’s our interpretation of those cuisines’, says Jonny. ‘We just want it to be fun and tasty.’

That’s a modest way of describing a constantly evolving menu of finely put-together dishes with a classic eastern elegance. Jonny’s skill as a chef was honed at Launceston icon Stillwater, as well as kitchens in Melbourne. It shows in the effortlessly exquisite ramen soups, and dishes with Jonny’s own twist, such as the Twice Cooked Pork with Egg and ‘all the crispies’.

The couple can be found at Harvest Launceston farmers’ market every Saturday, selecting ‘nice stuff that’s fresh out of the ground’.  Having a direct connection to growers makes the cooking more enjoyable, Jonny adds.

Pachinko’s growing list of wines and beers has equally fine provenance. Natural and organically made varieties feature highly, so the complexity of what’s in the glass sits well with what’s on the plate. 

Open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, the restaurant’s bright, simple styling and distinctive dishes have been welcomed by Launceston’s diners. ‘Everyone seems to be open-minded and willing to try some new things.’ Regulars are hungry to see where the seasons take the Pachinko menu next.

Pachinko 23 Quadrant Mall, Launceston

Jonny’s playful and cheeky side comes out in the restaurant’s evolving menu. Image: Melanie de Ruyter for Winterlicous 2019.

Jonny’s playful and cheeky side comes out in the restaurant’s evolving menu. Image: Melanie de Ruyter for Winterlicous 2019.

Jonny serves up some of Pachinko’s delicious ramen. Image: Melanie de Ruyter for Winterlicous 2019.

Jonny serves up some of Pachinko’s delicious ramen. Image: Melanie de Ruyter for Winterlicous 2019.

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