As Winter draws near my desire to leave the house once I’ve got home from work is very close to nil. I’m sure my full-time working readers will feel me when I say that there is something uniquely excruciating about waking up for work in darkness and returning home in darkness.
But when Zomato asks you out to dinner, you don’t say, ‘oh I’m washing my hair that night and checking my bloglovin’ feed.’ No, instead you let out a few whoops and let them know you’ll be there with bells on!
Or at least that’s how I feel about it.
Located above the recently revamped Victoria Park Market, Tom Tom strives to be your destination (get it?! nudge nudge). With general manager Dayna as our host we were taken through the venues evolution from being predominantly seafood focussed to providing a very kiwi friendly menu with an asian flair – think steak, fish and chips, alongside wontons and pork belly with kim chee.
Hearing Dayna describe how Tom Tom has grown is part of what makes these Zomato dinners so special – it’s not just about the food, it’s about the story and often about meeting people who really want to give their customers the best (or at least that’s what I got from Dayna).
But I won’t be silly, the food was really what sucked me in and it was Tom, the ‘cocktologist’ who really won me over.
So we’ll abruptly move over to that, starting with this drink – the waldorf salad cocktail.
Raisins, apple, celery and countless other things I’ve since forgotten, this drink really did taste like a waldorf salad in the best way possible. An apertif to whet our tongues, this was an incomparable introduction to the magic that Tom creates. He doesn’t simply create cocktails, he creates ideas, dreams or in this case – the silky smooth alcoholic version of a meal.
To round off our entree we were served a wonton with black vinegar and a truffle oil emulsion, pork belly on kim chee and angus seared beef with radish and Japanese mayo… top score on this plate goes to the pork belly so being so bellylicious.
From pork belly came time for the mains and Tom with another cocktail. This time being three types of rum, cinnamon, mulled wine… aka how to get your reviewers rather drunk in a tumbl(e)r.
Which was then accompanied with…
Sale yards Road Black Angus Scotch potato fondant with Worcestershire and mushroom sauce…
Asahi beer battered fish on a criss cut chip with tartare…
and chicken breast with sage and onion dumplings, roast garlic and brussel sprouts in a pumpkin broth.
If the beverage made us drunk, the mains pushed us to popping at the seams. Like teddy bears which have been a little too well-loved by their small and grubby owners, these dishes touched every side from the perfectly rare (yet not overtly bleeding) steak to the criss cut fries to the sage and onion dumplings. Is it awfully common of me to say that it was the chips which really won me over?
But even if my taste buds were happy and satisfied, the kitchen (and Tom for that matter) were certainly not. Dessert was yet to come…
Behold, the lemon meringue pie. Limoncello, egg white, cinnamon (and countless other ingredients I lost at the scent of it). Perfectly formed, fluffy, sweet, delicious. Tom outdid himself here and the empty glasses around the table were a testament to prove it.
Finally, rounded off with a deconstructed feijoa crumble with (the bombshizz) feijoa ice cream and lava cake with cream cheese ice cream (to share may I add).
And so the dining aspect of the evening was done and dusted. Tom Tom imprinted on my mind for a casual (or not so casual) cocktail and nibbles in the future.
Bloggers began to disappear but I stuck around to talk social marketing and blogging with Dayna and Tamara from Zomato.
It was once again a confirmation that damn, I really genuinely like what Zomato are up to and it’s really special to have opportunities like these to really get to know the places you’re eating at. Without any nudging from them I would honestly suggest you head over to Zomato, download the app and check them out – they’re now a staple when I’m picking a location to dine at.
And hey, you might even find yourself somewhere really special (and if you do, please pass on the hint to me!)