Dinner @ Tempura Fukamachi てんぷら 深町 (Tokyo, Japan)

November 19, 2016 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

Of all my reservations, I had the most drama difficulties with Michelin-starred Tempura Fukamachi.

My IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend)’s Japanese colleague graciously helped in making the overseas call and received wonderful news that there was a slot for the evening I wanted. Yes, 1 week prior to flying! Super lucky. But! The restaurant staff went on to say reservation had to be made through hotel concierge or by a local who’s accompanying me to the dinner.

It being so-near-yet-so-far, I refused to give up and got my friend who could speak Japanese to call again the next day. Unfortunately, he was rejected even though we offered to secure the reservation with my credit card. They said I could try walking in. But no, I can’t travel with that uncertainty.

With some luck and much coincidence, a colleague got to know I was travelling to Japan and offered to help. She knew of a colleague that’s out-stationed in Japan. So that’s when my arduous wait of 5 days began cause our overseas colleague was too busy to make the call immediately. Just as I was considering to engage an external agent, I got news on the day before I was to fly that reservation was successfully made! =)

And from Japan Michelin Guide website, I learnt that chef-owner Fukamachi san’s tempura is thinly battered and lightly fried so as not to spoil the original taste of the ingredients. He uses 2 fryers set at 2 temperatures and high-quality white sesame oil to achieve tempura that’s soft on the palate. Vegetables are fried at a lower temperature to maintain their freshness and colour, and seafood at a higher temperature to ensure a crisp tastiness.

It was with much anticipation that I arrived at Tempura Fukamachi on a Thursday night. And oh! I was super thankful that they’re open on public holidays. Yes, the Thursday that I came was a public holiday!

My reservation was made for second seating at 7.30pm. And when I peered through the glass panel, I saw customers from the first seating still dining. I gave myself much time buffer in case I got lost. However, at 7.10pm, there wasn’t anywhere I could go to kill time. The shopping district was a 5-10 minutes walk away. So by 7.25pm, I opened the sliding door to enter the restaurant.

The unit was pretty small. To my immediate left was the L-shaped counter, and to my right was 2 tables placed against the wall that could sit 2 people each. After 10 minutes, I was shown to my seat, together with 3 other gentlemen who were also waiting. By now, I noticed it’s all about luck in getting a good spot. The staff seated us according to our arrival time, starting from the furthest end of the counter. Since I was second to arrive, I was (thankfully) not assigned to the corner seat. Haha.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2), I ordered:-

1) Menu #3, ¥17,000 comprised of:-

(A) Item #1 (above) – “Soy pudding”, said the younger chef whom I suspect was chef Fukamachi san’s son.

(B) Item #2 (above) – Sea cucumber roe. Was told to have this without any sauce.

(C) Item #3 (above) – Prawn head. Was given 4 to be exact. And this was lovely! Had the first with lemon juice, second with salt, and remaining in my preference which was salt!

(D) Item #4 (above) – Prawn. And of the 2 prawns given, I was told to have one with salt and the second with sauce and grated radish. And the prawns were fried with consistency; The centre was slightly raw.

(E) Item #5 (above) – Gingko nut.

(F) Item #6 (above) – Kish fish.

(G) Item #7 (above) – Chestnut. And this was a seasonal item.

(H) Item #8 (above) – Sea urchin wrapped in shiso leaf. My eyes instantly lit up when the staff commenced preparation of this dish. After the other chef folded the leaf with the sea urchin within, it was interesting observing what happened next; Chef Fukamachi san took over, dipped the folded part (of the leaf) into the bowl of dry flour, dunked it into the bowl of wet mixture of water and flour, before finally frying it. So, so good.

(I) Item #9 (above) – Clam. To be consumed with salt or lemon juice. Another highlight dish for me.

(J) Item #10 (above) – Green chili.

(K) Item #11 – When chef Fukamachi san was not behind the fryer (ie, his son was doing the frying), he would be the one placing the fried items onto our plate. As he don’t speak English, I wasn’t able to know what fish I was served. But he would lean over and point at my bowl of sauce, indicating for me to dip the fish into the bowl of sauce with grated radish.

(L) Item #12 – Shiitake mushroom.

(M) Item #13 – Squid.

(N) Item #14 – Asparagus.

(O) Item #15 (above) – Eel. And this was simply the best! Couldn’t get enough of it.

(P) Item #16 – And for main, one could choose from tendon (tempura on rice with special sauce), tencha (tempura on rice with green tea) and tenbara (tempura and rice, mixed). When I asked for recommendation (cause I would have chosen all 3 if I could since I wanted to try everything. Haha), I was told tendon was the most popular choice. However, the gentlemen beside me (whom I noticed must be a regular from his frequent conversations with the staff) said tenbara is the best. So yes, I went with tenbara! And if one was wondering where did my other 2 prawns went since I was given 4 prawn heads but 2 prawns… The other prawns, along with adductor muscle of clam, were used for the main. And this was served with red miso soup with freshwater clams (shijimi).

(Q) Item #17 (above) – Poached pear with jelly.

Would I recommend Tempura Fukamachi? A definite yes. The only obstacle would be the process of making the reservation. My friend said he was given the impression that they don’t readily welcome non-Japanese over the tele-conversation. But of course, that was not the case during my dinner.

And do take note they only accept cash payment. So do bring sufficient cash!

2-5-2 Kyobashi, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan (東京都 中央区 京橋 2-5-2 A・M京橋ビル)
+81 3 5250 8777, Tablelog
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Tue – Fri : 11:30 – 13:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Sat – Sun : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Value: 7
Tue – Sun : 17:00 – 20:30 (Dinner)
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon, 1st & 3rd Sun monthly

UPDATE 1: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Tokyo 2018.
UPDATE 2: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Tokyo 2019.