As a way to celebrate the end of the week in style, the wife and I headed on over to Raffles Hotel to check out TOMO, a Japanese venue that I’ve been wanting to visit for ages after seeing the magnificent views it offers over downtown Dubai.
I don’t know if it’s just a “living at the Marina end of town” thing, but not many people I know have heard of this restaurant – never mind have visited there and with one of the most incredible viewpoints in Dubai, it’s hard to see why not.
Sadly, there’s quite a few places in Dubai that offer amazing vistas, but the food/service lets it down significantly (hello at.mosphere), here’s to hoping that TOMO could come close culinarily to what they could offer visually!
Firstly, we absolutely loved the music when we entered the terrace. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but it was a two hour mash up of 70s disco music – think Abba, Village People, Bee Gees etc. It really was fun and I’m not ashamed to admit I busted some serious shapes out when nobody else other than the wife was looking.
We started off with some Asahi beer and had a good flick through their extensive menu, settling with pork gyoza, a small sushi selection and some prawn tempura. The gyoza came first and was excellent – it had that beautiful juiciness on the inside and the delicate crispness on the outside where it’s caught the pan.
The sushi came next and was equally strong – all the fish tasted fresh, it was well constructed, the wasabi had a good punch and it all looked very appetizing on the plate with a couple of examples of supreme knife-work.
We then received the prawn tempura. Again, it was wonderfully cooked – a juicy, fresh, delicious prawn centre with the crunchy tempura batter housing it perfectly.
After a few appetizers, we asked the staff what they recommended, the wagyu beef was highly recommended so we gave that a shot, as well as a pork katsu curry.
The curry came first and was for sure the most disappointing aspect of the whole meal. The sauce was tasty, but the pork inside was very dry and chewy and probably the most surprising aspect of all, was that the rice was well overcooked – it was pretty much just mush.
The steak though – my word. I’ve eaten some stellar steaks in my life, but this was without doubt the best I’ve ever had (big statement indeed!). You could have cut it with a plastic spoon – ridiculously juicy, buttery and tasty; the wife and I were in heaven and polished it off gleefully.
We finished off with a selection of ice-cream:
The plate consisted of a scoop of vanilla, green tea, chocolate and sesame flavours. The sesame was absolutely amazing, wasn’t sure about it heading into it, but it had the perfect texture and balance of sweet and savoury. The chocolate and vanilla – although a touch icy in parts, were also very tasty. The green tea wasn’t really to my tastes, but the wife enjoyed it!
Throughout the evening the service was good, drinks were topped up and the staff had delicious dishes to recommend – they perhaps didn’t build as strong a rapport with us as the service teams in Buddha Bar and Al Grissino, but it was one of the better places we’ve been to for sure in terms of friendliness and efficiency.
All in all we had a fantastic evening and are already planning to bring relatives over soon.
FOOD: 13/15 – Most dishes were excellent, just the Katsu not quite hitting the mark.
SERVICE: 12/15 – Fast, polite and educated on their offering.
DRINKS SELECTION: 4/5 – A decent selection of beers, wine, spirits and an interesting sake menu!
AMBIANCE: 4/5 – It would have got a 5, but was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday night (although, only when we were given a tour of the venue, we realised they’d put us in the outdoor terrace, not the restaurant). The music was great and the views breathtaking.
DESIGN: 4/5 – It’s pretty simple inside, but it’s spacious and airy and the they have given a lot of space to appreciate the views.
VALUE: 3.5/5 – The pricing is pretty high, but the produce is of excellent quality and they also have a great happy hour.
TOTAL: 40.5/50 – A great experience overall, highly recommended for excellent food, strong service and stunning views!