Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tempura Hajime

Tucked away behind an unobtrusive black wooden door with no outside signage Tempura
Hajime is typical of many Tokyo restaurants. Specialising in tempura it has a fixed price ($68) degustation style menu there is place for 12 diners at a 3 sided bar.
it is small and quiet it is not difficult to talk to anyone although it’s certainly easier to chat with those closest to you.
Depending on word of mouth TP was booked out for 3 months ahead until recently when they decided to only take reservations one month ahead so now they’re only booked out one month ahead!!

Dai, the shaven headed proprietor/chef, stands behind the bar with a deep pan of oil (90% soy, 5% tea and %5 sesame) on gas burners on each side with a tray of flour and a bowl of batter and a few simple instruments.

He’s happy to chat while attending to the cooking.
After taking an order for wine, there is a modest selection of Saki or red or whites available, the waitress brought us a plate of sashimi – two small slices of the most tender and delicate Kingfish, tuna and salmon with a very mild wasabi and a pleasant dipping sauce and a few slices of red gurney on a green salad with a light creamy sauce in a separate small bowl.

A superb start to the meal
This was replaced with a bowl of dipping sauce, some chopped white radish, salt and lemon juice

and Dai began by rolling the first tempura dish, a prawn, in flour.
Each dish was served separately after being taken from the boiling oil, shaken and placed on a fresh folded sheet of paper. There was never more than the tiniest drop of fat on the paper and the batter was invariably light, crisp and hot
Each thing we had was quite excellent. The food retained its character and distinctive taste and could be dipped in lemon or have salt sprinkled on it to ones personal taste.

I will just put the photographs here without much comment. Suffice it to say this is, of its type, a superb dining experience. For reasons not clear to me the captions relating to the pictures have not come out where
i put them when writing this review but it's not very hard to work out where they should be



Scallop stuffd with sea urchin

Sweet potato

Salad with sea weed

Mushroom stuffed with prawn meat

Baby corn

King George whiting

Eggplant with chicken stuffing

Teriyaki eel

Nori wrapped fish with pickled plum and sesame seeds

Fried vegetables and seafood on a bed of rice

Youghurt with grape fruit juice and cointreau

Toward the end of the meal we were brought a shot glass of apple flavoured saki on ice which acted as a lovely palate cleanser

Score:17.5 /20

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