Sunday, August 29, 2010

Singapore - Tomo Izakaya

For those who haven't seen Singapore in a while, the skyline has changed a fair bit.  While not as bright as the night in Hong Kong, the scene in Singapore has definitely become more vibrant.  

And of course, with the latest addition of the Marina Sands Singapore's 3-tower structure linked by a sky park and infinity pool overlooking Singapore, it's pretty impressive.  Of course, these sights were taken from the Esplanade, a re-done area housing the famous "Durian" concert halls and also a variety of food places.  

Most of the food joints looked a little "blah" though and we would have to guess no one really goes there for the food.  Many seemed to just take in the sights, the indie-rock concerts that were playing outdoors, and just soaking in the atmosphere and prolonging it with more alcohol than food.  Despite the lukewarm welcome by the waitress who said the warm air in the restaurant is "like that one", we settled to do the same with Tomo Izakaya, forgoing our reservation at 7atenine, which was deserted except for one table.  Sorry guys. 

Of the things we ordered, we were most satisfied with the skewers or kushiyaki.  The beef skewer with a minced radish topping was surprisingly good.  The beef, meaty but easy on the palate, not being overly chewy.  And very tasty just with a simple salt and pepper seasoning, which highlighted the meat even better.

The mushrooms wrapped in thinly sliced belly pork and topped with Mentaiko before setting on the grill was also very tasty, made easily so just from the use of the melting pork fat bonding with the seasoned cod roe. 

On a more healthy note, the sesame tofu was also very good.  Unlike usual soft tofus, this had a slightly chewy texture aside from being just soft.  This helps you savor the fragrance of the sesame as you break it down slowly with your tongue.  No need for any biting at all.  The toppings of flying fish roe and scallions add another dimension and freshness to the experience.

Our other orders included the Tomo Caesar salad which in true Japanese style, was lighter than the classic version, but had the yummy bacon bits to lend the addictive flavor against a creamy dressing.  However, the Korean seafood pancakes were a complete letdown and was easily the worst dish of the night.  Full of doughy flour and no hint of seafood, this was just pure starch and very bland at that.  

Dessert was the Tomo Tiramisu, a green tea based mousse atop a bed of Japanese mashed red bean and sponge.  When served chilled, it was like eating ice cream, but after a while, was like eating yucky greasy butter cream with little green tea taste.  

If you're in the neighborhood, you could give this place a chance but stick to the tried and tested favorites.  But after some Sake, you may not notice the difference.  Plus point: this place does serve Calpis Soda, a favorite yogurt based soda from Japan which I really dig.

Esplanade Mall
8 Raffles Avenue
Tel: +65 63330012

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