TEMPURA | てんぷらと和食 山の上 (Hilltop Hotel)

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Paid pilgrimage to one of the most renowned breeding grounds of top Tempura chefs in Tokyo, as the name suggests it did really involve some walking up a hill, which they share with Meiji University as well as a famous cram school. Established in 1954 being converted from one of Tokyo’s earliest art museums subsequently occupied by the GHQ, the place was said to be well frequented by famous Japanese authors the likes of Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫), as Kanda was the area where most publishers were based. Stretched it to the limit to attempt a walk-in lunch on a Tuesday without any reservation, and somehow still managed to have them miraculously find me a corner counter seat in front of the stove after a nice relaxing beer at the historic hotel lobby thanks to their amazing hospitality, it was LG’s lucky day. Everything just came with an air of history here and it was certainly the most enjoyable ‘queuing’ experience LG ever had in Japan. The matre’d actually came personally to fetch me at the lobby lounge on the dot at the promised time while I was still sipping my beer and everything’s well in line with a perfect script from there. Having frequented their modern outfit with a view at Roppongi Midtown for countless times, this visit to their roots was certainly a much belated encounter. Far from all the posh, and at times pretentious, outfits in Ginza nowadays, this supposedly ‘basic’ looking Japanese restaurant at a historic western-style hotel in Tokyo still delivers seasonal yet very solid classic Edomae Tempura fare as good as any of the top guns. Will endorse this anytime above it all in Tokyo though reservation is still a must to avoid any disappointment given also the slight detour off centre. Don’t expect a mass market price tag either.

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