[Tokyo] If you need Tempura in Tokyo, heading to Ginza can be a good bet with many known restaurants, including Tempura Kondo (2 Michelin-starred), Ginza Ten’ichi, Tentoshi, Tempura Ippo, and Kuzushi Kappo Tempura.
Because I walked past Ginza Tenkuni 銀座 天ぷらの天國 too many times as it is located next to a prominent junction, I decided to finally put it into my itinerary.
A popular tempura joint, Ginza Tenkuni offers a variety of traditional and elegant Edo-style tempura dishes, and you can choose how they are prepared.
They have that distinctly Japanese flavour using the best ingredients, such as the finest sesame seed oil.
It began as a small street stall in 1885, and today it is housed in a 3-storey structure where each floor has a special function.
Start at the basement where they serve you a lunch course meal (¥3,780) or a Tempura Course (¥10,800) at a counter table setting.
They have a variety of seasonal Edo-style tempura and simply order what you fancy.
The 2nd and 3rd floors are both banquet floors. The 2nd floor offers a private tatami room, with Japanese style seated table for 2 to 36 guests, while the 3rd floor is best for large parties.
During lunch (11:30am – 3pm), enjoy their Keiseki Course” Aya” or Tempura Course “Katsura” (both at ¥5,940 each) where they deep-fry the tempura by your table. The Banquet Course is available for ¥7,560.
As I was there on a business trip, I could only afford time for quick tendon meal.
The 1st floor (seated table floor) is where you are served tendon (mixed tempura on a bowl of rice), tempura set meals, and other dishes in a casual setting.
If you head there during lunch time, the food is generally more affordable, with the Tendon Lunch Set (¥1,100) available 11:30am – 5pm on weekdays.
You can also order any of the various tendon (starts at ¥1,620) from the regular menu from 11:30am – 9pm.
Other than their classic “A-Don” (¥1,620) which includes shrimps, squid kakiage, mixed tempura and vegetable tempura, other choices include Anago-don (¥2,160) which is a congee eel don, Shrimp Tenju (¥2,052) and a Tenkuni’s Special Kakiage-don (¥3,240).
The basic bowl at ¥1,620 is about SGD20.50 or USD15, which is more expensive than the average tendon in Tokyo.
There was a certain fragrance as you open up the cover to the bowl, and the rice looked fluffy and appealing.
With the reputation, history and price, I was perhaps expecting more from the quality.
While the ingredients were generally fresh-tasting, the pieces were lacking in what the average diner would be looking out for their tempura – crisp and moderately hot.
Somehow the tempura prawns were slightly soggy and greasy. Hmmm…
Ginza Tenkuni is a place to try out due to its history and location, and it is great for a fast tendon meal, though I suspect there are crispier tempura out there, not too far away.
Ginza Tenkuni 銀座 天ぷらの天國
8 Chome-9-11 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Tel: +81 3 3571 1092
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)