Tomura (と村) is another famous Kyo-ryori restaurant besides the legendary Kyoaji (京味) in Tokyo. The chef was trained at Michelin 3* Kitcho Arashiyama for ten years, his skills was strengthened at Kyoaji before he opened Tomura. Tomura is noted for supreme ingredients and rigorous culinary skills. It has been on my list for a long while, and i expected it to be as good as i heard.
Besides the 6-seat counter, there are also 2-3 private rooms which can fit 12 guests totally. The counter runs a non-photo policy, 'luckily' we were a group of four and got a private room. The chef only cooks at the counter, he didn't come to our room (at least to say hi) like most chefs do.
We were asked to decide our menu upon the reservation was made one month in advance. Since it was crab season, a special crab menu priced at 50k was offered. Regular courses were also available at 35K and 25K.
Since it was our first time visiting Tomura, we didn't want one ingredient to dominate the entire meal, so decided to have the 35K normal menu.
The meal started with a pretty jar of sake served in a real bamboo shoot. No other purposes of using the bamboo shoots but for a better presentation.
The first dish was a cute serve of chawanmushi with fugu's shirako (milt) inside. Loved the warming up like this, especially the creamy shirako on the bottom. Nothing speculate on the flavor side though.
I love amazake, which is sweet and slightly alcoholic fermented rice drink/soup. Serving with daikon (radish) sounds fresh to me because I never thought of this combination before. Unfortunately the entire dish was totally imbalanced. The amazake was way too strong to match the moist and mildly sweet radish, the spice on top of the scallions makes the entire dish really awkward.
Followed by a Hassun appetizer platter of six delicacies. From bottom to top, left to right, cold to warm: cooked clams with sake, Matsusaka beef with mustard, abalone from Chiba, grilled fugu's shirako with sudachi lime, black beans, and deep-fried ebi-emo. Not bad compare to the previous two dishes. My favorite was the abalone, shirako, and especially the ebi-imo.
Buri, one of the best produces of the Autumn-winter season. Quite high quality flesh with high oil contents.
Next was a kutsu-based (arrowroot) soup with grilled karasumi-mochi and yodo-daikon (radish).
Kutsu is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking which is arrowroot, it is usually in a powder form to be made into soups.
I enjoyed the creamy and smooth texture of the soup although it lacks depth in tastes. The grilled mochi (glutinous rice cake) was stuffed with karasumi (dried mullet roe), high-flavors and chewy texture to match the clean-taste soup.
The most disappointing part of the meal was the ONLY main course - a large plate of deep fried fugu to share. Each of us was given a plate to take own our from the large plate. Three parts of the fugu was served: cheek, back and tail. Despite of the to quality fugu was use, the taste was not remarkable at all. It was over greasy after having three big chunks of deep-fried fugu.
Ebi-imo, literally a shrimp-shaped Japanese taro, another beloved seasonal produce was arrived after the oily fugu dish. All the simmered ebi-imo dishes I have had at other same-level restaurants were amazing, I expected it to be as good because the previous part of the meal was overall sad. Unfortunately, this became the worst ebi-imo dish I have ever had. The imo was big in size, extremely dry and bland, few soup base was served to balance its starch contents. Hard to swallow without drinking a lot of water.
So far the dishes were let us down. What we want at this point was some fragrance rice with some enticing toppings.
We were again surprised when the somen (soup noodles) arrived, with a boring looking. Homemade pickles were served on the side, which was too bland for us to finish. Although the noodle was actually not bad, we still felt unsatisfying because it was about the end of the meal.
The best part of the meal, or the only enjoyable dish, was the signature dessert - Renkon (lotus root) mochi with Kinako (baked soybean powder). With a moist looking, the mochi itself was deliciously soft and chewy, its mild sweetness was really lovely with the aromatic Kinako powder. One of the best Japanese desserts i have had in Japan. The meal was wrapped up with a fruit platter of Yonashi (Japanese pear) and orange.
Although Tomura is famous for top-quality ingredients, it is hard to tell from what we had throughout the meal. The bill was around 45,000 JPY per head, my partners and i coincided that it was not worth-of-value. In other words, overpriced and overrated. We had no communication with the chef since we were sitting at the private room, but i do have friends who had encountered the same situation but the chef came to their private room. Anyway, based on the dishes we had, I have no idea why this place was ranked Top.3 Kaiseki restaurants in Tokyo on Tabelog.
Address: 東京都港区虎ノ門1-11-14 第二ジェスペールビル １Ｆ
Hours: 18:00～20:00, closed on Sundays and P.H
Menu: 23K, 35K, 50K special course