Toku Nori: New Japanese spot in CBD serving 1-for-1 handrolls starting at $4

Toku Nori, a contemporary Japanese Handroll Bar located on the second level of a pre-war heritage shophouse at Telok Ayer, made its grand debut in early May 2024.

Toku Nori - storefront

This chic 40-seater establishment has quickly made a name for itself with its exquisite open-face handrolls and inventive twists on classic izakaya favourites.

Toku Nori - inside of restaurant

Dedicated to redefining the traditional Japanese handroll, Toku Nori presents new renditions paired with a carefully curated selection of sake, enhancing the unique flavours of each roll.

Toku Nori - wrapping handroll

The restaurant’s commitment to quality is evident in every aspect of its dishes. From sourcing the freshest fish to using premium seaweed from Tokyo, Japan, Toku Nori ensures that each handroll is a masterpiece of flavour and texture.

The seaweed used is exceptional, harvested in the pristine waters of the Ariake Ocean and handpicked at the peak of freshness to preserve its natural essence and crispiness.

Toku Nori - sake

What I tried at Toku Nori

The menu at Toku Nori features a unique take on Japanese handrolls, incorporating ingredients and techniques not typically found in traditional rolls. The Toku Nori set (S$38) menu features 5 handrolls with the option to add a Sake Pairing Flight (S$18).

Each handroll can also be enjoyed individually which was what we opted for. Diners with a smaller appetite may also opt for the 1-for-1 handroll where you can get the second roll of lower value for free, subject to terms and conditions.

Toku Nori - hotate handroll

Without further ado, we started our culinary journey with the Hokkaido Hotate Handroll (S$9++), featuring succulent scallops delicately topped with Japanese yuzu kosho, offering a tantalising touch of citrus which elevated the scallop’s sweetness.

Toku Nori - handroll

The seaweed also provided this mellow earthiness that blended well with the subtle flavours of this first roll.

Having a bite into the very first handroll of the day made me realise 2 things. One, the nori they used was kept in a special metal box to prevent it from being soft.

Toku Nori - premium handroll

Hence, it was extremely paper thin and crispy. Guests are also highly encouraged to eat them immediately when served.

Two, the taste of the rice is a testament to their premium grade japonica pearl rice Koshihikari, the highest quality rice in Japan. It was short-grained, well seasoned with vinegar that was not too overbearing and did not steal the show from the fresh seafood used.

Toku Nori - Maguro handroll

Moving on to the Maguro Handroll (S$8) from Matsuyama Prefecture, the roll showcases buttery tuna adorned with fried shallots for a Singaporean twist.

Toku Nori - maguro handorll

I loved how the fried shallots gave it a little twist however I felt that it might have slightly overshadowed the subtle Maguro sweetness.

Despite that, overall paired with the onion cream inside, it still made for a creamy centre with the shallots providing a crunch.

Toku Nori - engawa handroll

Don’t miss my favourite Engawa Handroll (S$9), made from the fin of the flounder, this rare ingredient is luxuriously premium and lush.

Toku Nori- torching sushi

Torched slightly to render down the fats and give it that extra smoky flavour, this bit of the fatty fin, for the lack of better words, melts in your mouth.

Toku Nori -placing fish into handroll

This exquisite part of the flounder I felt was extremely value for money. For context, each flounder only produces 4 fins so these parts are extremely rare. For just S$9, you could be trying it!

Toku Nori - premium handroll

As if the Engawa Roll was not lavish enough, we tried their premium Wagyu & Uni (S$16). Fatty Wagyu Karubi torched ever so slightly to bring out the fattiness of the meat, topped with Hokkaido Uni and caviar.

Toku Nori - beef handroll

The Wagyu beef, with its unmatched richness, melts almost instantly, delivering deep, meaty notes that blend with the creamy, oceanic burst of the uni. The combination of these rich ingredients results in a delicate mix of flavours and textures, making the Wagyu & Uni handroll a true work of culinary art.

Toku Nori - foie gras handroll

For a unique and decadent experience, try the signature aburi Foie Gras Handroll (S$16), featuring seared foie gras with a Japanese garlic soy glaze and spicy leek for a rich and flavourful bite.

Toku Nori - foie gras handroll

The subtle tanginess of the rice enhances the richness of the foie gras, while the optional garnishes add nuanced layers of flavour, creating a multi-dimensional tasting experience.

Toku Nori - sake

After so much rich and fatty food, I would recommend going for some sake to cleanse the palate with the Sake Pairing Flight (S$18).

Toku Nori - chicken ribs

In addition to handrolls, Toku Nori offers innovative izakaya dishes like Chicken Ribs (S$14), a modern take on Japanese karaage, glazed with a sweet yaki sauce and topped with kizami nori flakes for a delightful fusion of flavours and textures.

Toku Nori - mentaiko on cripsy rice

They also offer creative twists to traditional sushi like the Aburi Salmon Crispy Sushi (S$16). With crispy sushi rice as the base and salmon mentaiko tartare on top, this felt like a salmon taco canapé.

Toku Nori - maguro poppers

This is also similar to the Maguro Poppers (S$12) which resembles an Indian Pani Puri. It’s a bite-size crispy Nori ball filled with tuna tartare. I loved the play in texture between the silky tuna tartare on the inside and the crispy seaweed skin on the outside.

Final Thoughts

All in all, I feel that Toku Nori is extremely affordable considering the quality of food served and the location it is in.

Toku Nori - placing fish into handroll

Handrolls like the Engawa for just S$9 or getting 2 Maguro rolls at S$4 each using the 1-for-1 promotion is incredibly value for money. If I were you, I would be making my reservations now because with just 40 seats in this quaint restaurant, it gets filled up very quickly. I am not sure about you but I would definitely be back and bringing my friends along.

Expected damage: S$10 – S$30 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Toku Nori Handroll Bar

200A Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068638

Price
Our Rating 4.5/5

Toku Nori Handroll Bar

200A Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068638

Telephone: 8082 6536
Operating Hours: 11.45am - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 11.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun
Telephone: 8082 6536

Operating Hours: 11.45am - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 11.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun
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