Kaizen (“continuos improvement”) concept is deeply tied not only to manufacturing and business(where it originally comes from) but to Japanese culture in general. Anything Japanese do, they will try to do their best. Whether its service in a hotel, asking directions in a metro station or simply growing vegetables and fruit.
Dinner at 7 chome Kyoboshi ( 2* – my guilty pleasure to mention the Michelin stars ;). Well, afterall, the book has been helpful. Having said that, i first heard of 7 chome Kyoboshi from Japanese friends.) has only assured my thoughts about the quality of the Japanese products. So simple yet so good.
It was probably the most expensive tempura i have ever had in my life. If you can call that tempura, as the tempura i have eaten up till now has nothing in common with the creations of Shigeya Sakakibara san.
As you can see in the image above, my dinner companion and I were alone in the restaurant. It was very flattering to know that the master of tempura will cook it only for you, in front of you. As i have said, the tempura at 7 chome Kyoboshi has nothing in common with the greasy fried shrimps and vegetables we dip in soya and radish sauce in Europe or the US. The only garnishes served with tempura at 7 chome Kyoboshi is Japanese salt, lemon juice and horseradish mustard to be eaten between the bites.
Before mixing the batter and deep frying, two “amuse bouches” were brought. I am guessing that the first was ginkgo nuts in sweet and sticky sauce with some wasabi, while the second was crab. Both were very good and perfect to open the appetite.
Then the batter was mixed( as far as i saw just flour with some water), heat under the pot with oil turned on and the chef started frying. Most of the pieces were so small you could eat them in one bite.
Shrimp sandwich reminded a tiny ” croque monsier”.
Baby shrimp tempura (several of them were served among other “bites”). You had to eat everything, even the tail.
Lotus roots. The texture of the vegetable was firm and slightly crispy on the outside.
Tiny fish tempura ( i don’t know how it is called). The delicate flesh of the fish was delicious with crispy yet very fine batter.
The ingredients of the tempura dinner.
Ginkgo nuts.Their texture is between a nut and a boiled fawa bean, very interesting.
Cuttlefish had the usual resistance but was far from chewy.
Quail egg- even if the outside was firm, the yolk was still liquid.
Matsutake ( as far as i remember) mushroom.
Clams tempura.. The slightly chewy texture of clams and crispy batter was a perfect combiantion. I think it did contain eggs in it as the mixture was brought from the kitchen.
Potato balls- their texture was jelly like.( Is it traditional Japanese? )
Fig tempura in sweet (with some soya in it ) sauce.
And shrimp tempura on rice…
The dinner was finished with peach and melon. The supplier of these fruit is also supplying to the Japanese emperor. Not surprisingly their taste was spectacular- juicy and sweet. In fact i have never tasted these fruit of such extraordinary quality…