Warmest welcome to TONTOKI !!!
Let us introduce you to TONTOKI, the newest establishment from KAWANO Group, that also manages undeniably high-quality names such as Sakana, The Grill, Kado, Honzen, Bistronomy and many others.
TONTOKI specializes in Japanese cuisine, specifically everything about pork and as the tagline says “For All Diners with Special (Pork) Needs”, everything on the menu revolves around pork, pork, and pork! It was like a heaven to me, because I had never expected to find a place like this in Jakarta (or Indonesia in general)!
Located on the basement floor of MidPlaza I building, side by side with UDONKU, another establishment of KAWANO Group as well, both have similar design somehow and connected to each other through second floor of the restaurants.
TONTOKI had its Grand Opening last Friday, 15 May 2015, so when we visited yesterday (5/18), technically they were still in preparation mode, but overall our experience was nothing but great!
今回は新しくオープンしたKAWANOグループ（ジャカルタであの有名な酒菜, THE GRILL, 門、HONZEN, BistronomyなどのF&Bグループ）の屯登木をご紹介します。
屯登木は専門的な日本の豚料理を主にやっているお店です。タグラインも”For All Diners with Special (Pork) Needs”と書いてありました（笑）。ジャカルタもしくはインドネシアでものすごく数少ない豚料理天国ではないでしょうか？
From the exterior itself, we can see that TONTOKI has the concept of people’s house during Edo period in Japan. We even suspected that the male character in the poster actually refers to Oda Nobunaga, who is an icon towards the beginning of Edo period. Actually we are pretty amazed that such environment can be made inside a modern building like MidPlaza, and the moment we stepped in, it feels like we were transferred back to the 15th century of Japan!
The first area we saw from the entrance is this beautiful layout resembling the old town alley during that time, with alley wall on the left (complete with the typical X wall motive found commonly around the town during Edo period) and house entrance on the right. Also the round hanging light in the center is meant as symbol of full moon on the night sky. Short to say, the concept is actually the outdoor view in the town of Edo, lovely!
Turning right, we were even more amazed to see this small room with low ceiling, small tables and log-shaped seating. It felt like I entered a film set or something, but this one is so real and unreal in the same time. I probably don’t really make sense with my words but I think you’ll get the idea when you are here. It looks like someone’s house and kitchen during that time, and I think KAWANO Group once again exceeded my expectation! *claps*
Beside the main dining area above, we can actually choose to dine upstairs. There is a small “alley” to access the second floor, where we need to take our shoes off because it’s all floor seating area up there. For more private occasions, private rooms with sliding doors are also available upstairs. The environment upstairs feels even more “village” and when it’s crowded, it almost looks like old time when people do gather and unite like family instead of being individual like today’s world.
Through the second floor also, there is a connection with UDONKU, and as if it’s not convenient enough, we can actually order the food from UDONKU and vice versa. Love!
I was so amazed by the simple yet so marvelous design of this place, I can actually gush about it endlessly. XD But before I fill this post with all that, let’s move on to the FOOD!
Since they are just opened 3 days ago, the menu wasn’t really complete yet. But aside from that, the selection is quite impressive, given the fact that the menu only revolves around pork. Of course there are menu like starters and salad as well, and the prices are surprisingly VERY affordable!
Prices range from IDR 25,000 t0 68,000 for food, and IDR 10,000 to millions for drinks (alcohol).
Hiya Yakko／冷奴 IDR 28,000
Hiya Yakko is cold tofu with garnishes such as spring onions and katsuobushi (bonito shavings), usually eaten with soy sauce. It is a very simple yet heart-warming dish as somehow it symbolizes home cooking. The hiya yakko here was excellent! Served cold and the tofu had the softest, smoothest texture ever but didn’t break down too easily. Perfect way to start the dinner.
Horumon Amakara Itame ／ホルモン甘辛炒め IDR 58,000
Before we proceeded with heavier course, we started it off with this recommended “snack”, which is a plate of hormone cooked with vegetables and seasoned sweet and spicy. The hormone itself is a popular ingredients containing high collagen. I must say I was impressed by the generous amount of hormone served on that plate. The seasoning was surprisingly spicy too, considering that mostly the customers there are Japanese who probably find it too hot for sure. It might not be everyone’s favorite as this is actually internal organs, which some might find it disgusting and smelly, but trying never hurts!
Shochu Highball ／焼酎ハイボール IDR 68,000
Japanese snack like the one above is not complete without a glass (or two) of alcoholic drinks! XD I opted for Shochu Highball, the potato one instead of Barley. The drink was mild and easy to the throat, and perfect to accompany my hormone (and other pork dishes) eating experience! Beside this, you can also choose the Shochu On The Rock (IDR 80,000), which is served with ice cubes and tastes stronger than Highball.
Yaki Gyoza／焼き餃子 IDR 48,000
One of the best yaki pork gyoza in town! The gyozas were stuffed with thick pork meat with generous additions of spring onions and nira (garlic chives). They were grilled perfectly resulting in an almost crispy skin with loads of juiciness. WOWness!
Rafute／ラフテー IDR 58,000
Rafute is stewed pork belly, Okinawa-style. I must say that HANDS DOWN this was the BEST DISH we had that night, period. The stewed pork belly was served in a bowl, together with the mouth-watering soup, paired with green vegetables, spring onions, seaweed, and touch of karashi (Japanese spicy mustard).
The pork was brown in color, and very, very soft when eaten. This probably took long to cook this dish but it was all worth it!
Onigiri Buta Miso／おにぎり豚味噌 IDR 25,000
Remember I said something about this place reminds me about home cooking? The onigiri was the exact example why I said that. Just like how mothers make, the onigiri is big, fat, and simple, but the taste is tear-jerking. Excuse me for being so hyperbolic, I could feel that the onigiri really is made with care. The imperfectness, the simplicity, and everything about it, is awesome.
For the onigiri, we can choose the fillings from Okaka (Dried Bonito), Buta Miso, Takana (Pickled Green), or Ume (Pickled Plum). My choice was Buta Miso (hello, we were indulging ourselves in pork here.. XD) and I couldn’t be happier. The rice was thick and heavy, but filling was generous too! As you can see from the photo below, the filling almost came out. It tasted superb: thinly sliced pork seasoned with tasty miso, what else do you ask for?
Buta Ten Oroshi Ponzu／豚天おろしポン酢 IDR 48,000
This Pork Tempura with Ponzu sauce was an instant blow from the first bite. Some might find pork tempura is a bit too “heavy”, you know, all the porky meat and oily fried-style combined, but here comes the savior: ponzu sauce! Ponzu gives a distinctive sour flavor that instantly neutralizes the whole dish without ruining the actual taste. It becomes a totally different dish when ponzu is involved, in a good way, of course.
Shirukake Gohan with Butaten／汁かけご飯と豚天 IDR 42,000
Rice in Pork Soup with Pork Tempura
I love rice drowned in soup or broth, even tea (chazuke), but I didn’t expect to find something SO TASTY like this. The rice itself was very enjoyable eaten alone as the taste was already very rich, thanks to the delicious clear pork soup. The pork tempura was similar to the one we had just before this, but these two dishes tasted completely different one to another. Brilliant!
Buta Hakusai Nabe／豚白菜鍋 IDR 68,000
This is Pork and Chinese cabbage in hot pot, which you can choose to be served with or without the gas stove. Recommended way is of course to use it as to keep the dish warm along the way, but if you happen to eat fast, using it won’t be necessary. XD
The pot was literally fulfilled with beautiful arrangement of chinese cabbage and pork layers. Despite its lacking of colors, the taste was surprisingly rich and bold, without any sign of taste-enhancers (e.g. MSG and its kind). The cabbage was soft and crunchy at the same time, naturally sweet and addictive. The pork was thinly-sliced, mild in flavor but was a great combination with the cabbage.
Last but not least, here comes the SIGNATURE DISH of TONTOKI!
Tontoki Don／屯登木丼 IDR 42,000
This stamina bowl is simply YUMMY just by looking at it! The pork belly was golden brown in color, with glistening oil making my mouth waters uncontrollably. Err, that sounds a bit yucky but it was the fact! XD
Tell you what, the bowl might not be the biggest rice bowl, but the content was crazy! The rice fulfilled almost 5/6 of the bowl, then topped with big chunks of thick, meaty pork belly and sprinkled with crispy garlic chips and spring onions. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!
I have nothing to describe this in words as I can just use the word “delicious”, “magnificent”, “wonderful”, and those can’t even do the judge here. One bite of the pork and I was totally sold. This is how real Japanese food should taste and I am so glad I was there in the first place!
Lemongrass Ice Tea／レモングラスアイスティー IDR 35,000
After sipping this a bit, I have been repeatedly gushing to Mr. K about how come I found the best Lemongrass Tea in a Japanese restaurant (in Jakarta) like this, LOL! The iced tea is served in quite large glass with a real lemon grass included. Taste-wise, it was perfectly lemongrass, with the strong aroma and taste, like drinking crushed lemon grass water with tea. The sugar was already mixed in the glass but the quantity was great, enough sweetness but not too much.
Homemade Custard Pudding ／自家製プリン IDR 38,000
For the desserts, there are options like pudding (custard and mango) as well as some ice creams, but during our visit, the ice cream menu wasn’t available so we tried the custard pudding only. The word “homemade” had never been so attractive to us because we believe homemade style is the best when it comes to Japanese custard pudding a.k.a. purin!
The pudding had almost perfect shape with lots of round holes around the body, the texture was somehow dense yet soft. I love it especially eating it with the fragrant caramel sauce in the bottom, YUMMY!
Seriously, for a restaurant which has just its grand opening 3 days before, TONTOKI had no chance of ruining anything. Of course there were some “glitches” like malfunctioning lights, inexperienced staffs and so on, but those were just minor stuffs and didn’t affect our dining experience in whole picture.
I must also confess that I fell in love terribly to the place as I love this kind of less pretentious setting that reminds me of the villages in Japan. It’s very brave of KAWANO Group to come up with such concept since restaurants nowadays put a lot of money just to create beautiful, luxurious and rich-looking places to attract people with medium-high social status who are believed to be the “high spenders”.
In this post, I also wanted to express my deepest gratitude to the genius yet humble chef of TONTOKI, Ms. Miyagi Ako -who is familiarly called Ako-san, a super friendly and nice lady who comes from Okinawa! As a fellow Okinawan, I am so glad to meet her and being able to engage in the most friendly conversation with her along with Mr. K, knowing more about the dishes and more about TONTOKI itself which we also learned from the GM, Mr. Nakagawa Yasunori. Despite Ako-san’s cute and friendly appearance, Ako-san also handles other KAWANO Groups joints such as Udonku and Kado, she really has magic in her hands! THANK YOU SO MUCH for the delicious meals we had yesterday!
Before I end this post, I would like to add that the previous day, I went to the highly-praised Sushi Masa as claimed by many as the best Japanese restaurant in Jakarta. We didn’t find anything special and were quite disappointed because it was far different from what we have heard so far. I went with my friend’s family, total of 4 adults and 2 children, we spent almost IDR 2 millions just for yet another average Japanese restaurant. And pardon me for saying this, in TONTOKI, I ordered like hungry wolves for 2 person and my bill didn’t even reach IDR 700K in total. If you’re interested to hear what we think about the sushi restaurant, it’ll be come up soon.
Hereby we wish TONTOKI the tons of luck and we’ll drop by again very soon! <3
P.S. Making reservation is recommended.
*All prices are subject to 5.5% service charge & 10% government tax
*The Food Escape team are not paid whatsoever for writing this post.
MidPlaza I Building, Basement Floor
Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 10-11
Phone. +62 21 251 4585
Lunch: 11.30AM – 2PM
Dinner: 6PM – 10PM