Tempting as it is to watch Tomodochi's sushi plate conveyer belt roll away slowly past your eyes, you should make sure to look around you when you climb the stairs to this new Galway restaurant, for Tomodachi also boasts an admirable interior.
The three sections of the room give the diner a choice of sitting cross legged, tatami-style, on the floor in a descending square dip; there is the snug square zone of the conveyer belt district; or the more 'westernised' eating area.
The walls are beautified with ornaments, stylish lighting, kimonos, lanterns and traditional Japanese artwork. With the windows open and the building levitated from planet earth, the sounds of Eyre Square and Shop Street become magnified.
As regards the planning of the room, Tomodochi could be mistaken for a Chinese eatery due to the sweet and decorative aspects of the interiors, something which is unusual for a Japanese restaurant, where interiors tend to be more muted and wabi sabi.
The menu itself proved to be interesting, but my heart gravitated towards the specials. I chose the Obento with deep fried tofu; Sushi rolls with the California exterior; leaves with a tangy and unmistakably tangy Asian dressing and rice with dried sprinkles of seaweed. Miso soup was the warming factor. Picking a little biteen of sushi of the conveyer belt, I enjoyed four light little nori rolls with sashimi salmon. Sencha green tea accompanied the Obento gracefully. Even more charming was the cup and pot it was served in, propped on wooden slats.
Tomodochi does a good job of presenting Japanese food gracefully and simply. The choice of sushi on the conveyer belt is surprisingly laid back and stripped down. The kitchen is open so the establishment has stayed with the old Japanese tradition. It is without a doubt what lovers of Japanese cuteness would call 'Kawaii' which literally translates as 'cute'. The staff were delightful and warm, so the 'Kawaii' factor has been revved up a notch in this contemporary Galway destination.