A new Japanese-inspired restaurant dripping in gold details has popped up on Loop Street. What sets Tomo apart? Cape Town restaurant editor Zola Nene investigates.
Cost: Average price of a main meal: R95
Parking: Street parking is available on Loop Street and surrounds
Best for: A quiet dinner with friends who like to share
Star rating: Food 3; service 3; ambience 3
The Tomo menu has been developed and prepared by a Japanese chef who previously worked at Willoughby & Co at the V&A Waterfront. As a result, the sushi section has some familiar names such as the 4×4 and Reloaded roll, amongst other popular options such as California rolls and crunch rolls with their tempura element.
Starters include traditional miso soup, a satisfying bowl which features tofu, seaweed and finely chopped spring onions. Other options to kick off the meal include beef tataki, boiled edamame beans and rice-paper rolls.
For a bigger appetite, mains include a teppanyaki selection, dumplings (the steamed lamb dumplings are particularly delicious), tempura, and robata (Japanese braai) section. The tempura udon bowl is an ample portion, with two giant prawns, silky noodles, rich broth, and a scattering of chilli flakes and dressing on the side. Great for chilly weather.
You’re encouraged to choose a few items to share from the menu, but if you find it difficult to make a decision, a great option is the bento box. It’s filled with a selection of dishes to give you a few varied tastes, so it might include fried chicken, tuna sashimi, mashed potatoes (warning: served cold), teriyaki salmon, omelette roll, rice and fresh fruit. The generous portion might be too much for one person, so consider sharing it between two of you.
The small dessert section includes two items only: green tea ice cream or black sesame ice cream.
A complimentary cup of jasmine tea is served as you are seated at Tomo – a touch of hospitality not common in this part of town. The restaurant is yet to get its liquor licence, so for now patrons are encouraged to bring their own alcoholic beverages. The menu does offer some soft drink items as well as a selection of teas.
Service is attentive and efficient. Waiters are very knowledgeable about the menu items, helpful with explaining portion sizes, and can help with recommendations.
Tomo is a calm space, decorated with pale wood and gold furnishings. In the centre of the restaurant is a gold spiral staircase leading up to the soon-to-be completed Japanese tea room. The walls are dotted with Japanese script art, which is for sale. There is also some imported crockery and tea available for sale, too.
A quiet dinner with friends who like to share.
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