A Finer Taste: Tokyo Tonteki Philippines

A question for everyone; what is the best topping to any meal?

When I was far younger than I am now, I used to believe that a secret dessert was the best topping to any meal. After all, who in their right mind did not want a plate of decadent sweets drizzled with a little chocolate or a little caramel? Who could resist the temptation of a moist and velvety cake that melts in the mouth? Or perhaps who could say no to a scoop of lovely creamy ice cream or an icy sorbet to clean the pallet of all that savory flavors that had once pleasantly overwhelmed one’s senses.

Now, I think there’s a better accompaniment to any meal.

That my friends would be service, good service that is.

Anyone can provide service. Get someone a good seat, hand out menus and take orders, even giving people a glass of water as they wait for their meals can be considered service; but people aren’t looking for just that. In today’s society, people are always hunting for places with good quality service. Why not, right? As paying customers, one isn’t just looking to be served in a way that fills their stomachs. People now-a-days also expect to be served in way that fills their desire for social relations. When I say “social relations”, it’s not this lovey-dovey thing that people seem to gloat about half the time, but the simple interaction between each other as human beings.

Just like the other day, I was eating with my friend at Tokyo Tonteki.

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It’s a nice Japanese restaurant at Greenbelt 5 that serves a mean plate of what I like to call comfort food. The food came in generous servings and was really tasty, but among all the scrumptious morsel was the friendly accommodation given by the people who were working there.

In a restaurant, there were two kinds of attentive: The pleasant one and the annoying one. Luckily, the kind of attention we got from them was the former which made us feel rather cozy and unstressed. You have to admit, there are some places where eating felt more like pressure than pleasure because the waiters and servers wait up on tables like hawks as if telling them to “Hurry up” or were silently asking “Aren’t you done yet”.

The one who was taking our order was kind enough to check if our food was alright. This was a gesture which my companion and I appreciated because it showed us that they not only cared for their customers, but also cared for the food that was being dished out from their kitchen. They were kind enough to ask if we wanted our plates taken away once they were emptied, and not simply take them just because we were done using them. And of course unlike some of the places that I’ve been to, the staff and crew had these pleasant smiles painted on their faces. No one was frowning like a discontent child which of course was quite the bonus. In establishments like these, smiles are essential. Why? It’s because people who often came over to eat had gone through grueling hours of work. It’s a necessity to make sure that every guest is welcomed, and smiling at the work-ridden patrons always was the best way to show that they were indeed welcomed.

Though I guess what made me appreciate them all the more was the hospitality and compassion that they extended towards me the next day.

The night prior, while my friend and I were buying dessert, I noticed that my ring was missing. I believed that I left the office with it still on my finger, but lo and behold that night, it was gone. We weren’t able to go back because the place was already closed and because I was out of my wits from the shock of losing something important, so there was no other way than to go back the next day.

Which I did.

After work, I headed back to Tokyo Tonteki in hopes of finding my ring there. When I arrived, I asked for the person who took our orders the night before.

She was kind enough to come and talk to me. I explained to her the situation and asked if anyone saw it. She told me to take a sit first so that she could check with the rest of their staff. One of them even gave me a glass of water. I don’t know if it was due to me looking like a wreck or not, but I still thought that it was nice.

I watched as the kind lady tended to my concern. She went about asking their personnel if they’ve seen my ring. It was quite the effort. When she returned to me, the kind woman explained that no one had seen it. From there, I was thankful for the help and thought it was over. Then something a little more surprising happened. She also told me that some of the crew members from the night before were on their day-off’s which is why she asked for my number so that she could send me a message once she asked the rest. Without a second thought I gave her my number. After that I thanked them again for their time then left.

Now, I really believed that my ring was forever lost to me. As I resign myself to this heart-wrenching fate, an hour or two after I arrived home I got a text message from an anonymous number. I normally ignore things like this, but after reading the contents of the message, I was so moved. It was the nice lady from Tokyo Tonteki informing me that she had inquired with the rest of the staff THAT DID NOT COME TO WORK that day and still did not find my ring. She was very apologetic about it and even wished me luck in finding the item that had been lost.

This little show of kindness, the extension of hospitality was enough to make me believe that there really was still some good in the world. The simple gesture made me less upset about having lost something and instead made the whole experience of dining at Tokyo Tonteki to be something amazing. Normally, when you lose something in public establishments such as restaurants, they make it perfectly clear that they were not liable for lost valuables or stolen items. Despite such rules they still tried to help me in their own way.

Knowing that there are places like these who care about their customers in ways other than simply filling their stomach was comforting.

I may not have found my ring, but I found something better. I found a place that had impeccable service. I mean I don’t know about you but that kind of service was probably better than any dessert that’s ever been served to me thus far.

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