You’ll probably need to enlist the help of a taxi driver to make your way to Mikawa Zezankyo in Koto-ku. But it’s worth it. This small restaurant serves up some of the best tempura in Tokyo.
There will be perfectly cooked rice, rich broths and piquant pickles served alongside, but it will be the tempura that steals the show. Tucked within the light, crisp coating will be everything from vegetables and seafood. We’re talking plump, pink prawns. Eel. Squid. The matsutake pine mushrooms are a particular crowd-pleaser when they’re in season. Asparagus and chilli to add a little verdant spice to the mix.
Artfully presented and hot from the wok, the tempura is as pleasing to the eye as it is the palette, much like the restaurant itself. Mikawa Zezankyo only seats nine, all placed around the L-shaped bar, putting diners in easy reach of Chef Saotome as he cooks (the better to feed you, my dears). In addition to watching the master at work, there’s plenty to occupy the observant diner waiting for dishes to appear. The space itself is eye-catching, from the jade green walls and the colourful glass window to the giant metal cowboy hat suspended above proceedings. But when the dishes appear, it’s only right to give each morsel its due – rapt attention, and an appreciation of every bite.