Asian delights at TOMO in central Cape Town

It feels like such a long time since I wrote about a restaurant on Eating Covent Garden. Well, that’s probably because it is…a very long time! Disastrously for a food writer, I caught a nasty bug and didn’t feel much like eating for several weeks. Thankfully I am now fully back on track and on the lookout for exciting places to eat.

Yesterday we headed into Cape Town’s Greenmarket Square. I love the energy there with its bustling market selling such a range of beautiful local goods and the bars around the edge of the square – perfect for a cold beer when you need refreshment.

Inevitable we got hungry and were about to head to one of our much-loved and much-visited favourite restaurants when we spotted somewhere new. TOMO opened in June last year and was advertising Asian fusion food with a strong Japanese slant. We went straight in!

At lunchtime I like to have a tasty snack rather than a full-on meal and TOMO had the perfect menu for this. We started off with some fried prawn dumplings which were stuffed with Chinese cabbage, rice noodles and mushrooms (and prawns, of course). Our waitress told us they would be at least 10 minutes as everything was made fresh. That’s good then!

They were so perfect, soft and crispy at the same time with a delightful filling, especially the fresh juicy prawns.

TOMO: dumpling

How I love a crispy dumpling

After much deliberation we decided to opt for the tempura rock shrimp next. This is seriously the dish that dreams are made of. Plump shrimp in the lightest and crispest of batter, coated with a spicy Japanese mayonnaise. We loved every mouthful.

TOMO: rock shrimp

The luscious tempura rock shrimp with spicy mayo

We also tried the chicken skewers (negima) from the robata section – officially titled Japanese braai robata. Nice bit of Japanese/South African fusion going on here with tender chicken divided by sweet, crisp spring onions.

TOMO: chicken

Skewered chicken braaied Japanes style

It’s always nice discovering somewhere new that you know you are going to pop into regularly. Where the food is so delicious and so well priced. TOMO is also beautifully decorated with Asian wall hangings and has some of the prettiest plates I’ve seen in a while. And their rose made the perfect accompaniment to our light lunch on a sunny day.

TOMO: place setting

Chopsticks at the ready…and delightful Rose

Today’s price point

We paid R238 for the food (about £13.45 at today’s exchange rate).

The lovely dry rose was R180 (about £10 at today’s exchange rate).

TOMO is at 86 Loop Street, Cape Town, on the corner of Shortmarket Street.