Hokkaido’s fame is built on breathtaking scenery, the unbeatable freshness of its ingredients, and hospitality so warm that one visit is never enough. Two-star Michelin Tempura Araki epitomizes these qualities, capturing Hokkaido’s beauty in crisp, light bites of tempura deliciousness. Minimum intervention for maximum flavor. Whether your Hokkaido travel is for skiing, the annual snow festival, or for the lush green nature of the summer months, Araki must be your destination for delectable tempura and Japanese cuisine.
This block of Sapporo’s Susukino entertainment district is aglow with Michelin stars, with two-star Tempura Araki just footsteps from three-star Hanakoji Sawada. Despite opening as recently as 2014, Chef Araki’s incredible flavors thrilled Michelin critics into awarding the restaurant two Michelin stars just two years later. The chef has also experienced a big jump in international fame and overseas guests having been featured recently on Korean television.
Open the designer door to reveal a splendid hinoki Japanese cypress counter as the centerpiece in a comfortable space that demonstrates traditional Japanese austere beauty. The counter was constructed in 2018 from cypress grown in the Shinshu region, the former name of Nagano, and has been lovingly cleaned with natural loofah every day since. Its beauty is so captivating you might find yourself stroking its smooth surface. Every accoutrement has been carefully considered and placed by the chef, who makes continuous improvements in keeping with his growing dreams; the next change will be a shiny copper shield for his indispensable oil pot. With the chef’s youthful enthusiasm, there is a sense of endless potential in this space.
Minimum intervention for maximum flavor
From one of nine front-row counter seats, witness the chef’s skillful moves as he fries to perfection, juggling the tempura omakase course for all his guests. The chef builds on a wealth of experience at a Tokyo tempura favorite and restaurants of traditional Japanese cuisine to showcase Hokkaido ingredients through a full chef’s course of seasonal tempura sensations. Guests will no doubt be thrilled to taste the wide array of flavors Chef Araki achieves through the single cooking method of tempura – the perfect way to appreciate the richness of umami found in so many local ingredients.
Araki’s extremely simple batter, made so as not to interfere with the premium morsels nestled within, consists of just flour, eggs and water. Like an artist, he wields a brush to apply the flour. Next the battered pieces are dunked into one of two pots of oil: the main large one containing a blend of canola oil and Taiko lightly toasted sesame oil; the smaller one holding 100% Taihaku pure pressed sesame oil used for ingredients like asparagus and mountain vegetables for which the chef wishes to highlight their innate aromas. He makes a point of frying them to what he calls a “snacky” texture, but the conditions for that change every day. Araki adjusts the level of batter coverage and frying time relying on experience and intuition, and in consideration of the temperature and humidity each day. In the end, it all comes down to timing, and that’s where the master’s hand makes all the difference.
In the bitter cold of winter, you will be greeted with Aomori-raised suppon soft-shell turtle soup to warm you from the core. Then let the tempura fanfare begin. Leading every day is a duo of prawns: one prepared rare and a second cooked through, accompanied by crisp-fried heads filled with scrumptious miso. It’s hard to fathom that the same ingredient can take on such totally different textures and flavors. You’ll be floored the moment you meet these irresistible mouthfuls.
The course meanders from subtly flavored squid to soft-braised octopus, kisu Japanese whiting, sticky rice topped with seafood and a rainbow of vegetables, effortlessly switching between tempura and traditional Japanese dishes, providing the ideal change of pace and demonstrating Chef Araki’s deep experience and training with their authentic flavors and meticulous presentation.
The kisu from Takeoka, Chiba, is well-fried for “snacky”, crisp texture and served with the chef’s signature tentsuyu sauce. The sauce is light and not sweet containing shaved bonito flakes, soy sauce, mirin and other seasonings, and finished with plenty of grated daikon. Oysters from Senposhi on Akkeshi Bay in Hokkaido’s east are kept rare in the middle allowing guests to bask in their milky texture. Only available September through October, have no fear if you miss out because the chef then turns to fleshy, buttery local scallops. A red Manganji chili pepper offers sweetness you have never encountered before in a chili and umami locked in tight by the frying process. The smooth, creamy texture of negi Japanese leeks is enjoyed simply with tentsuyu and bonito flakes – incredibly delicious texture and flavor from such a humble vegetable. Japanese barracuda, kamasu, is flash-fried for just thirty or forty seconds making it crisp on the outside and plump within, finished with a brush of soy sauce and refreshing chopped leek and ginger.
Lusciously crisp unagi eel tempura with a delectable sauce extracted from the eel’s many tiny bones is served just before the closing dish – a choice of tencha or tendon. The latter is a bowl of rice topped with a mixed tempura fritter and the chef’s signature sauce; the former is the same but dressed with piping hot Japanese tea in place of the sauce for a truly belly-warming finish.
Chef Araki’s passion for Hokkaido shines through in his ingredient selection. He brings in seafood and vegetables from all around the vast north island: oysters from Senposhi and scallops from Notsuke in the east; eggplant, red Manganji chili peppers and fava beans from the town of Niki in the west, where the farmer rises well before the sun at 3 a.m. to pick the premium beans. The sweet potatoes grown in Akaigawa village are exquisite, cooked low and slow for one hour. And the chef personally makes the regular trip to the beautiful canal town of Otaru to collect his order of freshly caught shako mantis shrimp. Some ingredients from outside Hokkaido are brought in especially for no better reason than they are simply the best: Edomae anago eel from Tokyo and Mataichi salt from Itoshima in Kyushu, gathered from seawater packed with minerals owing to its location at the crossroads of mountain forests and the sea. Chef Araki also loves Kyoto-produced wine and premium champagne, with the likes of Louis Roederer Cristal Magnum adorning his cellar.
Araki seeks the pinnacle in every aspect of his hospitality. Having prepared some of the world's best champagne varieties, he felt it only right to splurge and serve them to guests in the very best wine glasses. Founded in Vienna and made by appointment to royal families around the world, Lobmayer glassware is most typically found at banquets of high international significance. And perfect for sake is the stunning cut glass called Edo Kiriko, a traditional Tokyo craft. The selection of stunning colors is complemented by beautiful lacquerware pieces; there is a piece to suit each guest and the necessary mood.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000