Aim for a simple meal, done well. That is a great motto to keep in mind when cooking, and a suitable motto to choose a restaurant by, with luck you’ll get it. Although it is easier to choose a restaurant by its appealing aesthetic or perhaps it’s an enticing smell that reels you inside a restaurant.
The tempura joint offered both a simple menu and enticing smell, it’s just doors away from the ramen diner where I ate my first meal in town, a predominantly local area. Stepping inside the room and it smells like clean cooking, a reassuring sign with fried foods, with the open kitchen a little to my left. Seated at the formica table the small stool beneath me seems stable. Green tea is delivered in cups with small owl motifs, I soon discover that the pictures of bottles on the wall serve as a drinks menu. I really feel like tempura, even though there is no English menu and ordering here was trickier than ever before, the menu has pictures, I could figure out what stuff was and use google translate to help order it.
The plum wine came first, the rocks clunking around the chunky ceramic mug diluting the super sweet alcohol just enough. A small plate of pickled mushrooms was a welcome if unexpected accompaniment.
The food came promptly afterwards, the tempura don was completely recognisable, with a prawn, pumpkin slice, half chilli and lotus root battered individually, served on rice, and drizzled with a little soy. It was really good with crisp batter and light seasoning.
I ordered a dish purely because I couldn’t identify what it was by the image, it’s going to be freshly fried food, how bad could it be? It turned out to be kakiage a type of tempura fritter, this too was served on rice and drizzled with a little soy. Eating this with chopsticks was quite a challenge, trying to crack off a mouth sized piece proved interesting, I think I did quite well, I spilled nothing and didn’t clock any disapproving glances. It was tricky to identify the component parts of the kakiage, it was certainly made up of loads of tasty stuff, I identified prawns, fish, onion and ginger hidden within the crispy mass.