Tokyo Eats: Tempura Kondo

Our friends Pat and Ross told us, if there’s one place we have to eat at while in Tokyo, it should be KondoAnd of course since tempura is the husband’s favorite food in the world, we just had to go!  John asked our concierge to book us a table about two weeks before our trip, because as you might have heard, you can’t just walk in and expect to be seated at this 3-Michelin starred sushi joint.

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At Kondo, tempura is served one piece at a time so that everything is at its freshest and most delicious

Once you get to Ginza, just walk around and look for the Coach store, then enter that street.  Kondo is on the 9th floor of Sakaguchi Building, which is next to a Cartier store.  The restaurant itself is low-key and casual, with everybody sitting at the bar.  Chef Fumio Kondo stands behind the bar, battering and frying, along with other Kondo chefs.

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Fresh uni is held together by a shiso leaf before being dipped in batter
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Super crispy prawn head tempura – yum
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I super loved this and didn’t even know what it was. I asked one of the chefs and he said it was lotus!
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The asparagus stalks were huge, each one as long as my forearm
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The scallops were crisp on the outside by still perfectly red inside

It was quite an experience watching the chefs at work from where we sat: cleaning, slicing, battering, and frying.  They would place only a piece at a time on our plate, immediately after frying, so that everything was fresh as could be.  The batter was magically light and barely-there perfection, and everything tasted to good and so clean that all you need is a pich of salt and sometimes a squeeze of lemon (which they provide).  You don’t even need tempura sauce; but they do have tentsuyuu and daikon on the table, too.

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I enjoyed my first prawn with just a sprinkling of sea salt, and my second with tempura sauce
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Superfresh abalone tempura
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You have to order the sweet potatoes the minute you are seated, because they take 40 minutes to cook

Does it look good to you?  Everything tastes even better than they look.Really such a good meal, and we would happily go back for more on our next Tokyo trip.  This is the order in which we were served:

  • Prawn heads
  • Prawn
  • Second prawn
  • Asparagus
  • Eggplant
  • Fish
  • Lotus
  • Squid heads
  • Uni
  • Onion
  • Squid meat
  • Unagi
  • Scallop
  • Abalone
  • Sweet Potato
  • Kakiage with Rice, Miso Soup, and Pickles
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Rice is served last, with shrimp kakiage and miso soup

John and I each ordered the “Tsubaki” tasting menu at 8,000yen++per person.  They also offer a “Sumire” menu at 6,000yen++ but I advise you not to order it!  Some people sitting with us at the bar (the restaurant offers all bar seats only) ordered this, and it was not a lot of food.  They wanted to order sweet potato towards the end of their meal, but the servers had to turn them down.  The sweet potato takes 40 minutes, so if you want some, you’ll have to order it the minute you are seated.

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Strawberries for dessert

 

Aside from each ordering the “Tsubaki,” John and I also had double orders of squid, abalone, uni, unagi, scallop, and sweet potato from the ala carte menu.  Our bill came out to about 31,000yen but we felt so happy with our meal that even John said it was sulit.  We were sitting next to a Cantonese family who remarked that for a similar meal in Hong Kong, they would have to pay so much more, and they’re absolutely right!

Thanks for feeding us so well, Chef Fumio Kondo!

KONDO, 9/F Sakaguchi Building, 5-5-13 Ginza, Tokyo, Phone: +81 3-5568-0923

More of my Tokyo travel posts here.

One thought on “Tokyo Eats: Tempura Kondo

  1. I like to try the fried shrimp heads 😀 I remember last dec.we visit japanese resto in makati,can’t forget the kakiage with tea rice had a nice chew to it,& for dessert my fave strawberries:)

    Like

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