Committed to the craft for more than two decades, Chef Kazuki Yaguchi’s passion is to offer the highest quality tempura using techniques that have been passed down by masters before him. Coated in light and crisp batter, fresh shrimp and sea urchins are fried to perfection in front of your eyes. Located in the old entertainment district of Ningyocho, Tempura Yaguchi is the perfect spot to enjoy an authentic evening of Edomae-style tempura.
Trained under master chef Tetsuya Saotome of Mikawa Zezankyo, Yaguchi’s knowledge of tempura is top class, allowing him to perfect the simple art of deep frying. At Tempura Yaguchi, his vision is to overlay his own aesthetics onto the traditional cuisine by incorporating new ingredients to the repertoire.
The restaurant is situated in the cultural district of Ningyocho, a town that flourished during the Edo Period with theaters and puppet shows. Surrounded by other established restaurants and stores, its location reflects the chef’s appreciation for cultural traditions.
Inside, the restaurant is full of atmosphere, furnished with classic designs and artifacts. The curved counter that hugs around the open kitchen is the chef’s favorite, inviting every guest to gaze over as he prepares and cooks each dish. The wooden ceiling is set with an intricate mesh pattern called ajiro that looks like a weaving basket. The walls are decorated with Ise katagami paper stencils used for dyeing textiles.
A drinks menu is small but selective with vintages that pair beautifully with deep-fried tempura. Local sakes are dry and light. The champagne comes from Guy Charlemagne, while the white wines are picked from Alsace and New Zealand. Whiskey highball is another delicious choice to cleanse your palette.
PURE AND SIMPLE
Yaguchi’s culinary approach is pure and simple, offering just tempura courses from start to finish. His motto is to maximize the flavor of the seasonal ingredients by cooking each of them in a specific way. For each ingredient, he has worked out the precise thickness of the batter as well as the frying temperature and time.
“The beauty in frying is to aim for that moment just before the tipping point,” he explains. “It’s about taking it as far as you can.”
The batter is made from a simple recipe. Flour is tossed in small amounts into a mixture of water and eggs, and stirred slowly with chopsticks. The water and eggs have been chilled overnight to avoid any gluten from building up. The mixture is made in a ceramic bowl also to keep the temperature cold. These small details make sure the batter is perfect every time.
The meal begins with two pieces of shrimp, beautiful to look at and savor in your mouth. The body is carefully stripped and deveined by hand, keeping a straight line from head to tail. A thin layer of batter wraps around the flavorful and moist shrimp meat. The head, fried at a different temperature, is crisp and crunchy, perfect to enjoy with sake.
"’Don’t use a knife if you can do it by hand,’ is the teaching of my master,” Yaguchi explains when asked about how he prepares the ingredients. “The idea is to keep the ingredients in their best condition because the moment you insert a knife, the quality begins to deteriorate.”
Japanese whiting has an incredibly deep flavor despite its lightness. Scallops are thick and plump, their umami enhanced by the heat. Enjoy the clams on their own to appreciate its potent flavor.
Generous lumps of creamy sea urchin are fried to perfection, wrapped in aromatic shiso leaves. Every bite unleashes the taste of the ocean and sweetness in your mouth.
Conger eel is fried swiftly in fluffy but crisp batter and broken into pieces in front of the guests before serving. The batter is wiped off the skin before frying, adding great texture and crispness.
Most guests sprinkle the tempura with sea salt and enjoy the original flavor of the ingredients. Tentsuyu dipping sauce and grated daikon radish are also available.
Yaguchi visits the market daily to spot the best seasonal ingredients for his Edomae-style tempura. Sea urchin is sourced from various ports in Hokkaido to ensure the highest quality. Ingredients like scallops, clams, smelt, lotus roots and Manganji peppers are just some of the items on his original menu.
With a focus on seafood, he uses Amabito No Moshio sea salt from Hiroshima for the best flavorful balance. For the batter, he likes to mix Nisshin Flour’s violet flour with pure soft water. The frying oil is a blend of Taiko sesame oil and menjitsu cottonseed oil that keeps the tempura light and crisp.
Yaguchi is focused on finding the best ingredients for his Edomae-style tempura. Not limited to traditionally popular items like shrimp and conger eel, he hopes to find new flavors given the changing climate and environment of the oceans. For example, his latest preference for Japanese whiting is those caught using a set net, not a trawl. The fishing techniques greatly affect the flavor of the fish, he explains. Even after two decades of experience, the chef is always on the search for new ideas.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000