New to Niseko
Tomo Niseko is the newest addition to the village’s illustrious dining scene. This restaurant is a modern take on traditional izakaya dining utilising French techniques with a focus on good food and happiness. Izakayas are essentially Japanese taverns where you go to share small dishes with friends while enjoying alcoholic refreshments. Tomo Niseko is a place to be “together”. It is designed around the sole purpose of ensuring every guest who enters leaves with a smile on their face, accompanied by a memorable experience.
As we entered the venue, we were greeted by the front house manager, Tim, standing in front of a midnight-blue backdrop showcasing a wide variety of fine wines and spirits. As Tim chauffeured our party to the group seating section upstairs that require prior booking, he mentioned that the seats along the bar are for walk-in guests. An excellent opportunity for those looking for a last-minute, dining option during the busy season. As we reached the top of the stairs, the first thing that caught my eye was the captivating artwork that occupied the walls. Award-winning, Hong Kong-based artist Johnathon Jay Lee is the man responsible for these pieces taken from several of his projects. Currently, these are only place holders until Johnathon himself visits the area and designs an entire collection that will occupy Tomo once he gets a feel for the Hokkaido area.
A Culinary Delight
We were presented with the menus by our lovely wait staff, guided through it, and it became apparent that this was a menu designed to be shared amongst friends. But first, drinks. The bar has a wide selection of alcohol, including a variety of highballs highly recommend by our waitresses. Four, please! The beverages were promptly delivered, followed by the first dish. Mouths salivated as I took my time getting a photo for all of you to enjoy. The first dish was a fresh, vibrant Hokkaido mushroom salad utilising the staple Japanese ingredient of sesame oil. Evident, but not overpowering. For any mushroom lovers, this is an absolute must-try. Arriving shortly after was the second course of fried tofu. Three golden pieces lightly garnished with lively spring onion in a pool of rich ginger and spice-infused broth. Crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, accompanied by a broth that has you drinking from the bowl until the last drop. As a tofu sceptic, this dish wildly exceeded my expectations. Finally, a plate that I challenge anyone not to bite into, close their eyes and moan in delight; chicken karaage. This version included beer battering and a citrus pop provided by an orange slice; it’s an absolute crowd-pleaser. It’s probably worth getting two just to be safe. Upon the clearing of the table, we were presented with a marshmallow on a roasting stick and directed to the fire pit outside where we can roast them. A unique finish to a wonderful evening.
My first, and certainly not my last, dining experience at Tomo was a truly pleasurable one. The food, staff and service were impeccable throughout the entirety of the evening and ensured that throughout our group and many alike surrounding us, happiness was shared. Tomo Niseko provides a culinary experience I recommend everyone try when visiting our wonderful town.