7chome Kyoboshi *** , Tokyo
World’s first and only .. 3 Star Michelin Tempura
A word about the misleading name … the restaurant (originated from Kyoto) initally opened at 7chome of Ginza before moving to the current 5chome but the name remains. So be warned …
Be warned too … that this is in our opinion, one of ,if not the most, Overpriced restaurant in the world!
Make no mistake, the tempura here is top-class (as you would expect and demand for the price) but charging 32,000 yen per person is sinful enough not to mention this ain’t no Robuchon/Ducasse , no caviars, truffles, but just Tempura!
As a comparison, 1-star Fukamachi ( http://sfreelife.com/2011/08/10/fukamachi-tempura-tokyo/ ) whose tempura is one of the best we’ve eaten , in nearby Ginza location too, costs less than a Third of the price. And you do get goodies like Hotate (scallop) , Uni (sea urchin) and Anago (sea-eel)
Wait, it gets ‘worse’ ….. the exorbitant price serves you mainly vegetables (kyo-yasai or vegetables from Kyoto) and BITE-SIZED tempura!!
And …. for worshipers of ‘regular tempura’, note that the restaurant does NOT serve the ubiquitous TEN-YU (tempura soy sauce) .. all tempuras are dipped in Salt and Lemon (SUDACHI) here. It’s a perfect combination but a choice of either would have been appreciated. Daikon-oroshi (grated radish) is however served as a STAPLE ‘munchies’ throughout the meal. Yes, plain (seasoned) grated radish without the sauce! (excellent taste though!)
Here’s an excerpt from Michelin guide : ” The chef’s constant trial of new ingredients accounts for his wide repertoire , giving diners the chance to savor some rare treats, albeit at a high price.” SPOT ON!
The meal began with a juicy and sweet but millimeters-small KURI (chestnut) followed by traditional prawn-cake (han-pen) tempura…
A ‘non-tempura’ ZUWAI-KANI TOFU ..
The signature SAIMAKI-EBI (small-sized Tiger prawnes) are served intermittently throughout the meal …. Though sweet and delicate, we saw no ‘value-added’ in serving these small prawns as compared to quality, big-sized tiger prawns.
Quail-egg Tempura with ‘burst-in-your-mouth’ sensation… nice!
Awabi (abalone) and seasonal HAMO (pike conger) Tempura … luxurious!
Konyaku (konjac or devil’s tongue) Tempura … a revelation!
Ten-Cha … ZEN-like (slightly too bitter for our liking)
The Master (english-speaking) ..
Certainly , a ‘once-in-a-lifetime (suffice)’ experience!