14th November 2022
Each week our in-house food writer Bibi Roy reviews a TN partner to see what members can expect when they visit. This time she visits Dodomi Asian Kitchen at 49 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells.
Dodomi is at the top end of town on Grosvenor Road, just across from my favourite international shop and lots of independent eateries and convenience stores. Jexsen and his sister Kim, both Chinese-Malaysian, opened the restaurant on 8 Nov 2021. I arrived back then to a packed house of inquisitive locals and other restaurateurs, curious to see what was on offer. “Our main goal at Dodomi is quite simple really, to offer our customers good quality food at good prices. Our skilled team of chefs use the freshest ingredients, making sure our customers enjoy authentic Asian food, whenever they come to dine at Dodomi. Our ethos is relaxed and informal with an emphasis on great food with no fuss, combined with excellent service”.
The menu is split into appetisers, salads, tempura, aburi sushi, (chef special), sashimi, nigiri, Dodomi sushi sets, maki, signature rolls, rice dishes served with salad and soup, noodle soups, wok fried noodles, curries, sides and dessert. On one large page they take you across Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and they do it well. Red banquettes and dark wood tables sprawl across the space, making the most of every inch. Perhaps I should lose a few as I can only just get past them. Of course there is an illuminous wall garden by the window, it seems to be a given now. Influencers get ready, set, click.
I have visited many times since their opening. Jexen and Kim are genuinely sweet people, aiming to make their customers happy. Their seafood is from Japanese suppliers based in North London. Fresh vegetables and spices are bought locally as there is an abundance of Asian produce just opposite and they want to support local businesses.
Today it is cold and rainy, my chest demands searing heat and chilli. Sushi just isn’t going to do it for me and so I am drawn to the Singapore Laksa with seafood. Laksa, for anyone who does not know is rice vermicelli noodles in homemade spicy coconut broth. It is like a warm hug that you don’t want to end. I am hungry and also order their popular Chicken Satay, marinated chicken skewers served with peanut sauce, red onion and cucumber. They serve these on a pretty little grill, always with a bit of theatre. They are crispy on the outside, moist within and the sauce as well as the satay is made in-house. I have no time for sloppy satay chicken, there’s no excuse for it. Thankfully theirs is marvellous.
On many occasions, my go to would be their Nasi Goreng, Malaysian fried rice with chicken, prawn, fresh chilli, fine beans and a fried egg on top, it is divine, but today I need a sinus clearing soup, Covid booster conquering and their Laksa is fitting the bill. A huge bowl of seafood, I see many fat king prawns, fish balls, tofu, fish cake, masses of noodles and bean sprouts, smothered in a superb red and gold coconut broth. It is visually stunning, my chest tingling from the sizzle like a pump on an inhaler. My lips are slowly swelling but the coconut milk calms them. The noodles are comforting, laced with bean sprouts that add a refreshing crunchy contrast. I know their mass will defeat me so I eat all of the seafood, slurp the broth and eat as much of them as I can. Wow this is good stuff.
Belly content, not wanting to calm the heat with Mochi, those glutinous, pounded rice balls filled with ice cream that always make me choke, I ask Kim if much has changed since they opened in terms of turnover. The percentage of take away against dine in has gone from 70/30 to 40/30. With signature Beef Rendang, Nasi Goreng, sushi sets and their Dodomi Party Boat, they have gained a loyal following and are seeing many more people dine in than before. Dodomi is also very popular with TN members. You could definitely come here for weeks and never eat the same thing, so vast are the choices. I count roughly ten vegan and twenty vegetarian options too. They don’t get much call for dessert due to large portion sizes, but as I mention above, one can have Mochi of the mango, chocolate, coconut or matcha variety should you wish to partake. Perhaps dessert is an area they could gain more exposure from as the cooking here is sound.
With so many restaurants in town choosing to buy in products, rather than make them from scratch, Dodomi is a breath of fresh air. I enjoy coming here and with so many other places closing, it is good to know they are doing well. Thank you for a splendid lunch.
All opinions are my own. Review exclusive to the TN card.
Member reward: Complimentary salmon avocado rolls when dining in. Please show your membership card at the beginning of your meal. Find out more here.