The certification program of Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Stores Overseas

Interview of Supporter Stores TOMO

Authentic Japanese food that brings Japan to Dubai

Dubai / United Arab Emirates

Authentic Japanese food that brings Japan to Dubai

Dubai has many fusion-type restaurants that mixes Japanese cuisine with those of other countries. However, TOMO is based on the concept of “having customers in Dubai enjoy pure Japanese food in a leisurely environment” and provides a menu that includes high-end dishes such as sushi and wagyu beef as well as more casual fares such as grilled chicken and ramen. TOMO is visited by a wide range of customers that include locals from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and business persons from Europe and Asia, as well as Japanese persons residing in Dubai for business. And to all of these customers, TOMO persistently serves authentic Japanese flavors, regardless of who visits.

The head chef, Mr. Tejima, heard that a local UAE customer was saying, “I’ve never had my children try raw fish at home, but now that we’ve had sashimi at TOMO, my son has learned how delicious raw fish is.” Having heard this, Mr. Tejima felt, “this is the reason why it is so important to provide authentic Japanese food at TOMO here in Dubai.”

Using quality ingredients from Japan

At TOMO, they try to use Japanese ingredients whenever possible in preparing their dishes, such as fresh seafood and vegetables. They are particularly selective in using high-quality rice from Japan for the vinegared rice used in their sushi. Other than that, they also use vegetables from Japan, such as eggplant. This is because even for vegetables, those made in Japan are clearly different in sweetness and texture from those that are made elsewhere. Mr. Tejima says, “If we acquire fresh seasonal fruit from Japan, we provide them as dessert to give our customers a subtle presentation of the Japanese seasons.” Because TOMO is so particular about their flavors, meticulous attention is also given to how the ingredients are transported. They conduct detailed meetings every time with the exporters in Japan to make sure that the ingredients will not become damaged and to be sure that there are no interruptions in the cold chain.

Attentiveness that can only be provided by TOMO

TOMO opened in 2012 with Chitoshi Takahashi as the owner and chef. The restaurant was so named because the kanji character for “chi” in the owner’s name Chitoshi can also be read as “tomo”, and because the word “tomo” also means “friends” in Japanese, thus representing the owner’s desire to have his guests enjoy themselves in a relaxed atmosphere as if sharing a meal with friends. One of the features of TOMO is that they have private rooms, and the dining area tables are placed at a distance from each other. Thus, this restaurant is often chosen by companies as a place for entertaining their important clientele. And so, TOMO teaches their staff to be attentive to their customers in a manner that is customary in Japan, to help their customers achieve better success in their business proceedings. The staff are trained not only to be attentive to the seating locations of the visiting customers and the order of how the dishes are served, but also to be able to give the appropriate responses when they receive any questions from the customers about the food being served. Since TOMO uses many ingredients from Japan, they place importance on giving explanations about the characteristics of such ingredients.

Enjoying Japanese sake with Japanese food, in Dubai

In general, drinking alcoholic beverages is prohibited by Islam. However, as Dubai is a tourist city, some restaurants within luxury hotels are allowed to serve alcohol. TOMO, which is in the Raffles Hotel, serves a wide range of alcohol including wine, beer, Japanese sake, and shochu. When the restaurant first opened, many of the foreign guests would order wine, which is what that they were used to drinking. However, in recent years, TOMO has an increasing number of foreign customers who are interested in trying Japanese sake. Mr. Shida, who is responsible for providing service to the customers, feels motivated by these developments. He says, “We are sometimes asked by foreign customers who have visited Japan before for delicious jizake (sake from artisanal producers) from Japan, so we would like to think about offering a diverse lineup in our selection of sake.”

List of shops

TOMO (とも)
Raffles Hotel 31348 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971- 4- 357- 7888 site: a new window will open.