We had lunch at Tsunahachi Tempura, Daimaru Tokyo branch (つな八 大丸東京店). It is located on the restaurant level (12th floor) of the Daimaru Department Store near Tokyo Station. According to their website, Tempura Shinjuku Tsunahachi has been in business since 1924. Starting with a shop in Shinjuku Tokyo, they have now expanded and have many outlets all over Japan.
Tsunahachi Tempura restaurant was pleasant and bright, with a mix of table and counter seating available. We asked for seats at the counter to watch the chefs in action and also to receive the tempura items straight from the pots. There is a wide variety of tempura options available at Tsunahachi Tempura Daimaru. Here are pictures of the “Chef’s Recommendation” menu. These fixed course options seemed most appealing to us. We selected the Kuroshio course – which offered a reasonable number of seafood and vegetable tempura items at the price of 4,536 yen (tax included).
Part of the attraction of eating at the counter is the chance to interact with the chef. We were fortunate to be served by the nicest tempura chef we have met. Our Japanese is as limited as his English, but we got along very well with our limited vocabulary and signs.
Our tempura meal started off with the two juiciest items. One tiger prawn freshly fished out of an aquarium and a slice of thick squid. The taste of freshness and the soft yet springy texture of these items made us wait in anticipation of the remaining items. We were encouraged to experiment with the multi-colour varieties of salt that had different flavours. Our favourite was the one that had a mild wasabi flavour.
Next was a serving of the vegetables – lotus root and a bunch of mushrooms which had a deep earthy taste.
The big fat scallop was cooked just enough to leave a soft core. We ate it with a squeeze of lemon juice and the slightest dip in salt.
This last tempura item was a mystery. It turned out to be pieces of a big clam cooked with bits of mushroom and vegetables in a shell.
To illustrate what he was trying to describe to us, our chef fished out some examples of scallop and clam.
For the last course of the lunch there were three types of rice servings to choose from. We selected tempura donburi and tempura chazuke. The donburi was straightforward. A bowl of rice topped with a tempura mix of small shrimps and bits of vegetables, served with pickles and soup.
The tempura chazuke was the better nicer dish. A pot of Japanese tea accompanied the bowl of rice with tempura topping. The presentation was quite beautiful. The tea was added into the rice to create a watery porridge, Teochew style!
Tokyo Station is a central place where we end up one time or another during each visit to Tokyo. Tsunahachi Tempura at the Daimaru store is a convenient place to get our tempura fix when we are in Tokyo. Besides the food, the ventilation was also good. We left with the slightest trace of tempura fragrance on our clothes.
Overall Rating: 5 TOPs
Tsunahachi Tempura Daimaru Tokyo つな八 大丸東京店
Daimaru Tokyo 12F, 1-9-1 Marunouchi,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-6701
Access: JR / Subway Tokyo Station