Tanuki’s non-cave

glass art

It’s been a bit of a *….* week in all honestly. My brain has not quite made it back to it’s seated and upright position but in the face of astounding public out-cry at the lack of toilet update (ahahaha) I will slog on. For you, my darling reader deserve the best, the best a man can get.

Tanuki’s cave has been one of my favourite Auckland restaurants for many a year. Filled to the brim with delights such as deep fried cheese on a stick, various delicious meats on sticks and enough plum wine and sake for the waitress lady to look at the cat you’ve sculpted from your left-over takoyaki balls, some brown sauce and broken chop-sticks and say “no more sake for you”. Tisk tisk, Helen Biggs.

I have enjoyed umpteen evenings at Tanuki’s with a vast array of family and friends. For years it was my go to place for a first date, some of which went well (my current relationship grew deep bonds over Japanese deliciousness in the confines of the cave named for the raccoon with massive swinging testicles) and some that I am now actively working to forget or at least re-craft into hilarious stories in lieu of worthwhile life experience. Still, in all these years I had never patronised the upstairs portion of the restaurant, the non-cave if you will. That is until now.

The non-cave has various dining options including a large private dining room on the second floor which was where I found myself a few Saturday evenings back. The photographs from here on are very wobbly and not of a good quality because man, is it dark in there. Mood lighting is definite feature of the private dining room above the non-cave.

blurry stairwell

But I had to include this terrible, wobbly image because it shows the two sided, see-saw staircase which unlocked the other bad ass feature of the private dining room; the private toilet.


This magical, single room, unisex bathroom is available for the exclusive use of customers in the private dining room. In addition to the VIP toilet situation they provide toilet slippers so you need never touch the floor with sacred bare foot.

Shoes off

The group dining room adheres to the Japanese protocol of removing footwear in the seating’n’eating area so these sweet little slippers are provided for bathroom trips.  I tried to think of it as fun and different to blot out the real possibility that someone had worn them to the loo and missed the bowl in a southern, foot related direction.



The room was well appointed but not overly so. I did worry a bit as there was only one roll of loo paper and no extras in sight which is never a great look when trying to feel calm and not worry about future bathroom trips.

The best bit was the very cool, weird urinal.


My picture is terrible and blurry but you get the idea.

toilet view

The view for people watching out the back window was pretty cool as well. Grey Street as it once was, would have run right past the buildings back end in years gone by.


Cleanliness :  6/10  Honestly could have done with a good going over and considering we were the only group using it, I would have thought it would have been in perfect condition when we arrived but it had a general ‘used’ feeling.

Interior :  7/10  Good view, no stalls, various bins, working lock, hand wash and cute slippers, all good.

Exterior :  7/10  Weird behind the bar staircases win points but if I had been drinking as I usually would be in a Japanese restaurant (I was the sober driver this evening so my boy was free to get wasted on tankards of Asahi, followed by Soju at a karaoke bar with his high school chums) I would worry about falling up or down these stairs 3-4 sake’s in.

Safety :  9/10  My only real fear would be ninjas. Or perhaps the Yakuza.

Snugglitude :  8/10  Added joy for cultural experience, hidden-gem-ness and exclusivity, points off for possible piss shoes and toilet paper scarcity.

Total :  37/50


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