Tokyo | てんぷら 近藤 Tempura Kondo
Kondo is a 2-Michelin-starred Tempura restaurant in Ginza. The restaurant locates on 9F Of Sakaguchi Building, it can serve up to 14-15 guests at a time.The owner-chef Fumio Kondo travels over the country for the best seasonal ingredients, he stands behind the bar battering and frying every working day. Kondo uses the best light sesame oil to fry staple ingredients such as prawns, fish and vegetables.
Visited: May.15.2015 Dinner
Address: 東京都中央区銀座5-5-13 坂口ビル 9Ｆ
12:00-13:30,17:00-20:30, Close on Sundays
I always enjoy freshly-fried tempura at the counter in Japan as you can rarely find this kind of tempura restaurant outside Japan.
Similar to most other upscale Japanese restaurants in Japan, Kondo serves tempura course menu at(threes) different prices, there's also a a la carte menu to order some add ons. I picked the set without sashimi with two a la carte items.
Table set ups: grated daikon, lemon and salt, and ponzu sauce on the side.
None of the three menu includes the sea urchin tempura and you have to order it from the a la carte menu. The sea urchin was wrapped in the shisho leaf and then deep-fried. Compare to the one i previously had at Fukamachi, the one at Kondo was larger in size. Unfortunately I don't like this piece here as the uni was overlooked for my liking.
The sweet potato tempura is a must-try at Kondo. It is not included in the set menu, and you have to order it at the very beginning of the meal, because it takes 40 minutes to prepare (deep-fried). Yes, its sounds like a calorie bomb but you have to try this.
The sweet potato tempura was very large as my fist. After frying, the cylindrical slices are left to cook in the remaining heat. The skin tastes like baked sweet potato, the inside was fully cooked (deep-fried), very smooth and moist texture, and tastes very sweet. It was really big and i cannot even finish it, i have to leave the room for the last rice dish afterwards, the server took the rest half away and wrapped for my breakfast.
For the rice dish, you can pick from:
1. white rice, served seperately with mixed seafood tempura, miso soup and pickles
2. Tendon: mixed seafood tempura over rice with sweet soy sauce, served with miso soup and pickles
3. Tencha: mixed seafood tempura over rice, side with special Japanese tea, pickles and wasabi
The first two choices are quite common, the tencha is definitely the top pick at a tempura omakase restaurant. After adding the Japanese tea, the seafood tempura was soaked in the tea and makes the simple tea very umami and flavorful. It was like Japanese congee and was really soulful. When i ate at Fukamachi, the tea was green tea while the tea here was baked tea. The baked tea has a lovely fragrant while the green tea is more refreshing.
It was a enjoyable experience at Kondo, the staffs were friendly and the ambiance was very warm and homey. The food is definitely worth of value and worth a visit.