Food review: Japanese Sushi Bar Tomoe
High quality food served with a friendly touch on beautiful tableware, writes Susan Jung
My one complaint about Japanese Sushi Bar Tomoe is that it's too far away for me - I really wish this place were in my neighbourhood. It's a cosy little spot where the number of regular guests - which, on the night of our visit, seemed to be everyone apart from me and my guest - is testament to the quality of the food and the warm, welcoming service.
We watched discreetly as the man who seemed to be in charge of the place went up to the other guests (many of whom were Japanese) to talk to them. When one of them asked for an off-menu item of katsu-don (tonkatsu with egg and onion over rice), he quickly agreed to make it.
The food is served on some beautiful ceramics from Arita, in Saga prefecture, and is eaten with the loveliest set of chopsticks I've had the pleasure to use - they were thin, light and delicate.
The main menu listed raw fish, as well as ingredients that were fried, grilled and braised, and there was a separate short list of chicken dishes that included the breed of the bird. There was a good selection of sake, beer and house-made infused alcoholic drinks, such as the umeshu (plum wine).
We tried a few sushi items, which were served with grated fresh wasabi, as you'd expect. The saba (mackerel, HK$80 per piece) was fine, but my guest's favourite was the ikura (salmon eggs, HK$45 each), which was prettily presented in a porcelain spoon, while mine was the Hokkaido uni, which featured the creamy, richly flavoured sea urchin piled without seaweed on vinegared rice.
Stewed beef cheek in special miso sauce (HK$130) came as thick slices of the tender meat in a light sauce. Assorted tempura (HK$130) was the usual assortment of shrimp and vegetables (including pumpkin, baby corn and shishito pepper) in a delicate batter.
The highlight of the meal was the grilled unagi (HK$190), which was the best I've ever tasted. The eel was warm, fatty and rich, and coated in a not too thick, not too sweet sauce.
We tried two dishes from the special chicken menu. The grilled chicken skin (HK$50), taken from the Hanamidori breed, was served in a small dish with negi (spring onions) and a refreshing ponzu sauce. Meaty and juicy grilled wings (from Awaodori chickens, HK$50) were seasoned with salt.
The bill was written by hand, and when we left the restaurant, several of the staff, including the boss, came to the door to bow to us and say goodbye. We're eager to return - next time, as regulars.
Japanese Sushi Bar Tomoe, King's Commercial Building, 2-4 Chatham Court, TST. Tel: 3791 2346. Open: Monday-Saturday noon-2.30pm, nightly 6pm-10.30pm. About HK$450 without drinks or the service charge.