This tiny family-run restaurant near the Gion district has five seats at a counter plus a couple of private rooms available. It used to be based in Shijo street along the Takase river (the name Takasebune means boat that is sailing on Takase river) and was running as far back as the 1950's.
It is notionally a tempura restaurant though some other dishes are available such as sashimi. Set tempura menus from ¥900 (£6) to ¥3,300 (£20) are offered as well as a la carte choices.
We tried one of the tempura selections, which comprised prawn, fish and vegetables including aubergine, mushroom, lotus root and green beans. The tempura batter is not the gossamer light version that you find at top tempura restaurants but it was reasonable. The vegetables were actually better quality than the prawn, which was certainly not prepared from live as the best places in Japan do, and lacked sweetness. It was cooked first, before the vegetables and whether it was this or whether the oil temperature was not quite hot enough as it was the first thing fried at that service, the prawn was a touch soggy, which was not true of the vegetables (13/20, but less for the prawn). The star for me was actually the miso soup on the side, which had genuinely good flavour (15/20).
Takesebune is far from sophisticated but it does feature honest cooking at a moderate price. The welcome was friendly and the bill came to £16 per head for including drinks. This seems to me very fair indeed.
Further reviews: 25th Sep 2010