まぼろしのTOMOCA  



日本語意訳へ


TOMOCA 
1-7-2 7otsuya Shinjuku-ku
Aevrage check for two:10,000



   My friend Mohan is an Indian-Malaysian treacherman of major proportions and his praise ( I took him to the Indian restaurant, Moti ) is high recommendation indeed. He liked Maharaja and Raj Mahal too, but begin to wonder if all Japanese Indian food hewed to the Mogul line -- " Tandoori, sag, nan, are they only having all those northern curries, la? " Afraid so, I said , not knowing of much else. Now I do. Next time he visits Tokyo we're going to Tomoca.
   Nominally Sri Lankan, Tomoca couldn't be more unlike our other Indic restaurants. It couldn't be easier. You walk in, sit down, make one chice -- fish, shrimp, mutton, beef or liver -- and prepare to pay one proce , a flat \4,200. Then bowls of food begin to arrive. Some crisp papadam chips. A spicy stew of lentils. Shredded coconut with chilles and perhaps a touch of fermented shrimp. A mild jackfruit curry. A fiery, thoroughly inspirational sambal of tiny Jako fish and onions. A cooling mix of minced cucumbers and herbs. Fried eggplants steeped in cloves. And whatever meat or fish you picked, done up in a rich curry.
   You sat it with a rice flour pancake and, when that run out, heaps of rice, You irrigate it with a Loin Lager or a deeper, English-style Royal Pilisner -- beers as confident as one might expect from an island under Europian rule for 450 years. And when you're done they bring a beaker of hot milk and a pot of Ceyloneese tea -- the good, fragrant stuff that defines what tea people mean when they talk about a " liquoring " brew. And about this time, with any luck, you may find yourself up on a cloud somewhere high over the isle of Serendip.
   The charm of Tomoca lies in the newness of its flavors, even to the veteran of the occasional one-night Colombo stopover or Earls Court Sri Lankan joint. Where else in Japanese can one sample jaggaery, the Ceylonese fudge make from kitul palm sap? Or try the arrack of the State Distilleries of Sri Lanka ( granted that the experience has more in common with glue-sniffing than brandy snifters ) ? 
Fugitives from the 60s will feel right at home amid the batik bedspreads and potted palms and droning subcontinental music. It's the sort of place where you keep smelling incense, then notice they don't have any.  
  With just four tables it fills quickly, but other times can be empty. Perched atop a dirty staircase on one of Tokyo's most restaurant-intensive streets. Tomoca dosen't exactly look poised to repeat Moti's mega-success. Judging by the low-key stuff and clientele, that's just the way they want to keep it.

1992 Feb/Tokyo Journal
 


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