Subang Jaya for Japanese is no stranger than Subang Jaya for student-dominated cafés. Opposite the main road along Subang Jaya Medical Centre is a street of no less than five Japanese outlets – weeknight sushi spots, izakayas and more elegant types. A fair number of Japanese expats around the area is a probable reason, but local Subang residents too have taken a liking to these restaurants.
The most visited on the stretch (Rakuzen aside) is Tomoe. At six years old, the dim, yellowed restaurant still performs reasonably well by pulling in regulars on weeknights. Once regarded the reigning ‘fancy place’ for Japanese, more stylish additions like Fukuya and Ishin threw Tomoe to the back of the line. As our visit for a Monday night dinner suggests, Tomoe still tries. Very hard.
Dinnertime crowds are whisked by elevator to the first floor where light wood panelling separates the bar from tables, and private tatami rooms are available if you want to wiggle your toes. It’s not even been five minutes but reverberations of friendly ‘Moshi moshi’ greetings pleasantly startle us as we enter. The menu is a large (unfocused) one, but we zero in on the mikatsuki platter with various sashimi-topped sushi. The chutoro (medium fatty tuna) is rightfully melting and smooth, the amber jack pink and juicy, the salmon fine, but it’s the unidentifiable white fish that disappoints. Rubbery in texture, a small bite relegates the unfinished slice to a corner. At RM58, a platter of this kind is considerably cheaper than those in the city centre, but won’t have you rolling your eyes in pleasure. However, the grilled unagi is quite excellent.
To test something more playful, the signature Tomoe maki is swiftly ordered next, thick rolls with folded kanpyō (a Japanese species of gourd) and radish. The rolls are oversized, the vegetables spill out as we bite, and surely stuffing the filling back in the roll by hand isn’t how the chef envisions us to eat this. Never mind, as the curry udon arrives and sends us flying back to our student days; thick, chewy noodles soaked in sweet curry. No complaints.
Dashimaki tamago, a seemingly popular item on the menu, is the best thing we order. Soft, velvety and faintly laced with mirin, the omelette is expertly swirled and layered with a silky, gooey middle. Meanwhile, the grilled salmon in teriyaki – verbally promoted with flair by a senior waiting staff – is overcooked and carries a peculiar saccharine sweetness unknown to fish. A shame as the salmon’s crust is adequately charred and the portion fair. We can’t end this review without noting the stellar service; kimono-clad waitresses shuffle back and forth throughout the night to refill teacups and to generally smile in our direction. Surekha Ragavan
|Venue name:||Tomoe Japanese Restaurant||Contact:|
1 Jalan SS15/5A
|Opening hours:||Daily, 12noon-3pm; 6pm-11pm|