Hailing from Niigata, Tomi Sushi has a history of 63 years since started off in 1954, and Singapore is their first and only oversea venture since 2010. To date they have 4 outlets here, including Echigotei. Despite having no Michelin accolade to brag with, Tomi Sushi associates themselves closely with one important ingredient in making good sushi, Niigata Koshihikari rice. Among Japonica there are different grades, the best among all is definitely Koshihikari, notably those from Niigata’s Uonuma. Tomi Sushi claims that they use Koshihikari rice from Niigata, but stop short of saying whether it’s from Uonuma, which cost a few dollars more per kilogram. Chances are, they aren’t. Nevertheless, Koshihikari from Niigata alone is enough justification of its premium status. The reason Niigata’s rice is so famous is because the area has massive snowfall. After winter, the snow would melt and dissolve into and fertilise the ground, and along with good climate, able to cultivate possibly the best rice on earth. As a result, other by-products using Niigata’s rice garner rave review too, notably their sake.
Niigata is located on the west side of Japan, facing Japan Sea. As such, Tomi Sushi imports their fish from Niigata as well as from Tokyo. Hence, depending on season, sometime they may have special import that you won’t find on their menu, needless to say, for a premium price. I guess that’s where they stand out from some competitors.
After a long introduction, allow me to finally comment on the food. My friend and I were promptly served hot tea as soon as we were seated inside their Millenia Walk branch, and we each ordered their Osusume Lunch (おすすめランチ), notably the most expensive item on their lunch menu. This is a set meal as well as Chef’s recommendation on their menu, with Maguro Chutoro and Maguro Otoro being the highlight among the sushi.
Less than 10 minutes later, the sushi platter came first, with the main meal coming briefly afterwards. I have no intention pretending to be a sushi expert here, I’m definitely not. But I did learn somewhere that normally, diners are suppose to start from sushi with a lighter colour, towards the darker one (usually also stronger in taste), in-between eat a piece of ginger and sip tea to rinse off any remaining taste from the previous sushi, just so diner can fully appreciate each single piece of sushi. So I had to save the best for last, starting from the maki roll first. Oh, just to clarify, the restaurant certainly didn’t have such requirement, they know most of the non-Japanese diners here don’t know such ritual. I usually don’t bother such practice in any normal sushi restaurant either, but this certainly is a premium one. Firstly, the freshness was never in doubt, my friend called and found out their last shipment came just a day ago. Secondly, their sushi rice did not come with excessive vinegar taste. Thirdly, the rice didn’t split easily away from the fish upon consumption (Trust me, even a Japanese chef in a Tokyo restaurant can fail this! LOL). Now, come to the taste of the Maguro Chutoro and Maguro Otoro, which means Fatty Tuna and Extra Fatty Tuna from different part of the fish respectively. I have to reiterate I am no expert, and this is the first time I try premium tuna like these. I do find both having a softer texture, slightly tastier, if anything, I thought I found the latter comes with a slightly minty flavour.
The spotlight of the main meal must certainly be on the tempura. The prawns taste fresh, and the tempura flour is thin and crisp that my dining partner find this better than that from Tempura Kohaku. I guess I would just say each has its own merits. Personally, I love the Shiso leaf tempura, so crisp and retaining some mint flavour of the leaf. Salad was appetising, and their Chawanmushi though looks thin, but has quite a handful of ingredients within, which include shrimp, mushroom, chicken etc.
Apart from the meal, Tomi Sushi also takes pride in providing different soy sauce for sushi and sashimi respectively, going into such meticulous details is truly exemplary! In case you are wondering, the latter is slightly on the saltier side.