Chef Masamitsu Kadomatsu, formerly from Nadaman at Shangri-la, has ventured to open his own izakaya, Toku Izakaya Bar at Midpoint Orchard building at Somerset. After Nadaman, he was the executive chef at Hashi.
It’s phenomenal—in both senses of the word—that Japanese chefs come to Singapore to work and gain exposure, and when it’s time to return to Japan (for various reasons), they like the little red dot so much that they stay here, set up shops, and take root. They have lived here so long that they speak Singlish. Another example: Nobuya at Fortune Center.
Toku Izakaya Bar is nondescript, has no design to speak of, and the stools are uncomfortable as hell for big asses like mine. I kept standing up from my stool they must have thought I’m insane. They can only accommodate 14 people so drinking alcohol is a must. They are an izakaya, a drinking house, and food is an accompaniment.
While the food is secondary, it is not slipshod; it is excellent. When the sashimi ($38) came, Mr Fitness said, “Wah, the plating is so… down-to-earth and homely.” Haha. I didn’t mind the plating as it is good value; Toku gives twice as much as other places.
The addictive potato salad ($5, above), not too dry, not too moist, has crunch of cucumber and carrot, with a wicked hint of pepper. Simmered oyster with ginger (3 pieces, $9, below) is plump and has a nice sous-vide-like texture, not at all shriveled.
The oden ($18, below) caused some dispute between Mr Fitness and me. He doesn’t like sweet food, and finds the oden too sweet. For me, the daikon in oden is so juicy and sweet it annihilates all arguments against it. (The rest of the oden items are okay, although I didn’t like the powdery texture of the meatballs.)
While most of the food is good, the ankimo with ponzu sauce ($12, below) is wonderful. It’s like a velvety guilt-free foie gras with a fruity flavor.
I also like it that Toku Izakaya Bar has no reception so you can concentrate on talking with your friends, and not play with your phones. It is a great addition to the food scene in Singapore. ICA, give these chefs and their families citizenship already! We spent $146 for 2 persons, including a sparkling sake ($18) and a sake ($33).
Toku Izakaya Bar
220 Orchard Road, B1-06 Midpoint Orchard, Singapore 238852
T: +65 6734 2015
4pm-10pm, closed Mon
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.