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It’s not often you see a chef gladly stick his fingers into a vat of boiling oil, but this is the spectacle you can witness every lunchtime at Tempura Imoya. Tongs are clearly for wimps as this chef dips his fingers into the koromo (tempura batter) first, then uses his fingertips to deftly pick the frying seafood and veg from the fryer. A long counter surrounds the open kitchen on three sides, giving a fine view of this spectacle. The menu is as prosaic as the chef’s approach to kitchen equipment: a set lunch for ¥650 until 3pm, with some variations on this permitted afterwards. The set gets you a bowl of good rice, a few pieces of piping-hot tempura (including squid, white fish and mixed veg on our visit); tentsuyu dip of soy sauce and grated daikon; and of a bowl of miso soup with tiny shells of shijimi clams in the detritus at the bottom of the bowl. The staff don’t speak much English, but let’s face it, you only need two words of Japanese to order a tempura teishoku. Your fellow customers are likely to be dark-suited salarymen.
1-32 Kanda-Jinbocho, Chiyoda-ku
|Transport:||Jinbocho Station (Mita, Hanzomon, Shinjuku lines), exit A4|
|Opening hours:||11.30am-3pm, 5pm-8pm / closed Sun & holidays|