In the words of chef and owner Tomoko Hayashi, Washoku TOMO is nothing special, just a restaurant that serves proper Japanese food at rightful prices. After our visit to the restaurant and a chat with Tomoko, we can’t help but argue that statement… Washoku TOMO is much more than nothing special, this restaurant is an authentic diamond in the raw.
Tomoko Hayashi has had a long trajectory in the world of Japanese cuisine, that has allowed her to work at many restaurants and in many countries, producing her own reproductions and even adaptations of time-honoured Japanese dishes.
The food that Tomoko serves at Washoku TOMO is Omakase of around 17 different portions or small dishes, including sushi, miso soup, pickles, side dishes and desserts. Most like a Kaiseki, which is a multi-course dining experience that artfully embraces seasonal ingredients, totally left to the chef’s choice. This is something very typical of the Japanese cuisine, which focuses on the wisdom of nature where the seasonal produce provides our body with exactly what it needs to keep healthy and enduring during the prevalent season.
So we can say that Tomoko Hayashi works like an artist using her mood and the seasonal produce to create the dining experiences every night at her restaurant. After your first visit you cannot expect to receive the same culinary adventure on your next visit, as something fresh and new will be waiting for you.
Tomoko tells us a little bit of her story during an interview when we visited Washoku TOMO.
I arrived to Stockholm 11 years ago. Before coming to Sweden, I lived in Mexico for four years. In that time I started to feel like I wanted to open my own restaurant, because I was organising so many parties making food and gathering my friends and I was really enjoying making the food and serving it to the people. So it would be fantastic if I could make money out of it. I needed kitchen work experience of course, then I sent my CV all over the world and one Japanese restaurant in Umeå hired me. So I came to Sweden, directly from Mexico City to Umeå, to start my chef’s carrier. Later on I came to Stockholm and worked at different restaurants.
I learnt how to cook from my mother, but I always had a interest in the food and the food business.Tomoko Hayashi
When we asked her if she was preparing her mom’s recipes in her restaurant she told us between laughs that it was not only that. She has also been learning by watching videos on Youtube in which Japan’s most prominent Michelin star restaurants’ executive chefs share some of their secrets.
“So I watch them and then I repeat and repeat and then I can practice, so Youtube is a good ally for inspiration. I have been gathering much learning and inspiration by watching films. You can imagine if I was to visit any of these Michelin star restaurants how much money it would cost. If I see a video, I can visit and repeat, repeat, repeat.”Says TOMO as she laughs out loud.
We can clearly see how much Tomoko has absorbed the creative and perfectionist way of food serving from all those Michelin star restaurants she has been remotely learning from. The food and presentation of the dishes at Washoku TOMO is not far at all from a Michelin restaurant experience.
Our experience at Washoku TOMO was so unpredictable and utmostly delicious. We loved the marinated octopus, the flamed fish, the smoked tuna, the flamed buttered scallop sushi, and the amazing combination of foie gras sushi with Tomoko’s secret recipe of raspberry soy sauce.
Tomoko is very careful with the ingredients she uses in her dishes. Most of the fish comes from Sweden but some comes from other countries. Of course she never skimps in the quality, she always sources to find the specialities and the very best.
And as if these artful Japanese dishes were not already exquisite enough, Tomoko offers a sake paired menu that brings the best out of every dish, literally to the last drop – take it from us.
Something very lovely about visiting this small and cozy restaurant is that you can closely observe as Tomoko prepares every dish with so much care and art, but also that she likes to engage with the guests, share her expertise and listen to her customers, making the experience ever so personal, as though you were visiting Tomoko in her apartment in Tokyo.
So much so that a couple of customers, who were to travel to Tokyo to celebrate their honeymoon and got their flight cancelled, decided to visit Washoku TOMO instead so they could feel as if they had actually taken that flight and made it to Tokyo.
If you want to visit Washoku you need to book your visit here, as no drop-in visits are possible.