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Tokyo Getaway: Tempura At Tenmasa

Before we left for Tokyo, a friend recommended a tempura restaurant called Tenmasa to us. The restaurant was featured on an ANA inflight programme and he said that the tempura looked very good.

I did some online research on the restaurant, and read that Tenmasa has been around for over 70 years. The restaurant has been run by three generations, from grandfather to father to son. It is now located in the Marunouchi Building near Tokyo Station, so it quite easy for us to find the restaurant.

We visited Tenmasa twice in the one week that we were in Tokyo. We really liked the food. It was very good. In terms of cost, I feel that the restaurant charges reasonably for the level of quality in the food that it serves. I have eaten tempura in Singapore that costs alot more than Tenmasa but is not half as good.

Tenmasa’s menu has set meals and ala-carte orders. The set meals come in three differently-priced options, but customers can add ala-carte orders to their set meals anytime. We tried the lowest-priced and mid-priced options during our two visits and a couple of ala-carte orders mid-way through the meal.

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Tenmasa uses a very light batter in making its tempura. I could hardly taste any flour when I bit into a succulent piece of scallop, prawn or crab. Also, the oil that is used to cook the tempura is frequently changed by the chefs.

How it works at Tenmasa is this: the restaurant has three small dining rooms. Each room has a horseshoe-shaped table which sits between 8 to 10 guests, and is manned by one tempura chef, who cooks the tempura in the presence of the guests. Trays of fresh food waiting to be dipped into batter and then hot oil are laid out on the table-tops, and the chef will describe to you the food that he is preparing for you next.

I like this sort of cosy setting where one can chat with the chef, and listen to the conversations that are taking place around the table.

Now, for the food porn…! We ate alot more than that what is shown in the photos below. (Photos are a little orangy-yellow because of the lighting).

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^ Ebi, prawns.

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^ Kani (蟹), Hokkaido crab tempura. TBH’s favourite.

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^ Hotate, scallops wrapped in nori.

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^ Shirako tempura, cod-fish milt. This was fab, fab, FABULOUS! I was very fortunate that this was in season when I visited. It was piping hot and creamy. Tasted soooo good, especially with a pinch of salt.

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^ The grated daikon was so sweet and delicious, so unlike our local radish which has a slight bitter taste. I ate most of the daikon that was served in a separate bowl, even though it was intended to be a condiment to put in the sauce, and not eaten on its own.

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^ Mouth-watering good. Every item on the ala-carte trays looked so delicious, I wanted to eat all of them, but at the risk of having my cholesterol levels shoot above acceptable limits.

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^ Sea-perch

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^ Yuzu sorbet – my favourite Japanese dessert.

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^ Asari, clams.

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^ Like most Japanese meals, this ended with plain rice, pickles and miso soup, or ochazuke, or tendon, depending on which set meal one chooses. Dessert and coffee/tea are served after the rice course.

Tenmasa is definitely a restaurant that we will visit the next time we visit Tokyo. For those who are interested, this restaurant is located on the 35th Fl, Marunouchi Building. Except for New Year’s Day, Tenmasa is open from everyday: 11am – 2pm for lunch and 5pm – 10pm for dinner.

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