This tempura restaurant is located in the basement of an office block quite near the main railway station. There is a counter of black wood with eight seats and two additional regular tables. In the one-off "special edition" Michelin guide to the area in mid 2016 the restaurant was awarded a star. The chef is Takano Tomoaki, who trained in the Ginza in Tokyo before opening this restaurant. He uses a light safflower oil (a plant once used in fabric dyes but these days noted for the oil made from its seeds) for frying the tempura, which results in a light style of batter. The ingredients are primarily sourced in the Toyama region and bay, including the seafood and fish.
The meal began with an appetiser of yomogi tofu, enhanced by a garnish of freshly grated wasabi. The tempura sequence began with prawn, the prawn head and a further prawn wrapped in a green leaf. The prawns were not alive just before cooking but tasted fresh, with good natural sweetness. This was followed by maitake mushrooms with a curly green mountain vegetable with no apparent English translation.
Next was a white fish that some detective work by my neighbouring diner revealed to be a type of cutlass fish called largehead hairtail. No matter how many times I go to Japan there always seems to be a type of fish that is new to me; the Tsukiji market sells 700 different species of fish. This one had a pleasant flavour and slightly soft texture.
This was followed by Spanish mackerel served with a bamboo shoot, and then an impressively sweet and carefully cooked onion tempura. I have never had shirako (cod sperm) as tempura before but there is always a first time, and hopefully a last - it was wrapped in a green leaf before frying, but inside it was unmistakably and very liquid shirako. The final tempura was kakiage (prawns and vegetables fried into a ball) in this case mixed in with rice and wasabi, which was very enjoyable. This was all around 15/20 level, the tempura batter very light, the ingredients of good quality.
For dessert there was nicely made sakura (cherry blossom) ice cream, which had very good texture and was nothing if not seasonal, as the last cherry blossom was still visible on the trees in the city (15/20). Service was friendly and although not much English was spoken it was easy enough to communicate the important requests, such as "more beer". The bill came to ¥11,988 for two including beer, which works out at £44 a head. This seemed to me entirely reasonable given the level of skill and quality of ingredients being used.