Opening in 2003, Mikawa is one of a small group of tempura restaurants from Tetsuya Saotome, who began with a restaurant in the suburb of Nihonbashi, a financial district and home to the predecessor of the main Tokyo fish market, now Tsukiji. The 22 seat Roppongi Hills restaurant was his second venture, with his previous head chef in charge of its kitchen. He has since opened Zezanyko (in 2009). Mikawa serves tempura from ingredients that were available in the Edo period (1603-1868) so all the seafood used is from species that were caught in Tokyo bay in that era. The vegetables used were also ones available in that era.
The Roppongi Hills branch is on the second floor (up a flight of stairs) of the B residences across the road from the main building of the complex, almost directly above the Salvatore Ferragamo shop. As so often in Japan, the entrance is discreet and unmarked. There are ten counter seats, and two little private rooms in addition. We began with tempura prawns, the shellfish alive moments before being fried in batter. These were carefully cooked, the batter light, though the flavour of the prawns was not quite as good as those at Rakutei the day before (16/20). The head of the prawn was served separately.
Japanese whiting was excellent, the batter really good; fish and chips in England never taste like this (16/20). Squid was just a fraction chewy, but still nice (15/20). Aubergine tempura was excellent, as was asparagus and mushroom. The vegetables in Japan are of a high standard, and the aubergine in particular had excellent flavour (16/20).
Anago (sea eel) followed, again the batter excellent and the eel having very good flavour (16/20). The meal concluded with kakiage, tiny scallops clustered together, merged on a bed of rice with pickles. The scallops were lovely, their inherent sweetness coming through the batter coating (17/20). Service was very good, water carefully topped up. Very little English was spoken, but the chef and waitress were very welcoming. The bill came to ¥5880 (£38) per person for lunch with water to drink. The bill would be a bit higher in the evening. This seemed to me excellent value.