Monday 16 May 2016

Authentic Japanese Tendon at Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu ~ Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara

[Update: Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu is now closed]

I've been missing Japan and Korea a lot recently which may be a subconscious longing for a holiday or a break. This extends to wanting to eat Japanese and Korean food all the time which warranted a visit to Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu, a recently opened Japanese tempura rice bowl (tendon) restaurant at Evolve Concept Mall. 

Kawaii Management is a cute name no?

Tendon or Tempura Rice Bowl is a casual traditional meal from the Samurai Period. The taste is still the same as it was 126 years ago. Akimitsu Tanihara, under the tutelage of fifth-generation took over the flavours and has made the Dote no Iseya Tempura restaurant in Asakusa, Tokyo famous and popular around the world. 

Chef Akimitsu Tanihara, the head chef at Tendon Akimitsu has a long history in the making of tempura, winning the Gold Medal in the Tendon Section at the Zenkoku Donburi Grand Prix 2015 and 2nd Place at the Shitamachi 2015 Food Festival in Taito.

You'll see him in action from the tempura wok to the saucing station, effortlessly dipping one tempura piece after another into an oil mixture of sesame oil and vegetable oil or topping tendon(s) with ribbons of tempura sauce. For an open kitchen, Tendon Akimitsu has surprisingly good ventilation and is pleasantly smell-free!

The interior of Tendon Akimitsu is said to resemble the branch in Asakusa. I liked it because it was cheery and bright allowing me to clearly see what I was eating and producing nicely-lit photos.

Click on the menus to zoom in
The menu is straightforward. There are 13 tendon combinations including a kid's tendon and you can order additional pieces of tempura or a tempura dish on it's own. We made the mistake of not ordering additional rice at the beginning which they top up in your tendon bowl itself. The RM3 plain rice is a rather large bowl so some precious rice was wasted.

Going with the basics, I ordered a Nami Tendon (RM31) while LC had a Kakiage Tendon (RM32)

The waitress caught me snapping photos and suggested that she serve the tendon to me without the sauce first to capture a better photo of the tempura.

By golly she was right, every angle showed off the beautiful mountain of light and airy tempura. I was so ready to dig in after this photo.


Everything about the tendon was amazing from the rice at the bottom of the bowl to the light savory tempura sauce right on top. The fluffy, cloud-like tempura batter clings to the meat and vegetables just the slightest allowing you to savor the fresh ingredients uninterrupted. The prawns were crunchy while the vegetables cooked just right. The short-grain rice laced with more tempura sauce brings everything together. I sigh contented just at the thought of it.

My favorite part of the tendon (aside from the crunchy prawns) was the shrimp, scallop and whitebait tempura. The whitebait may be small fish but it's big on flavor and the scallops bouncy and perfectly cooked.

To add to that lovely mixture were chunks of shrimp, just as crunchy as the larger prawns.

Each tendon is served with miso soup loaded with tiny cubes of tofu and wakame as well as some pickled cabbage. The pickle was more salty than sour so I wasn't a big fan. The miso soup however was a nice end to the meal without the  MSG overload.

LC's Kakiage Tendon was similar to mine minus the large prawns but they reciprocate with a gigantic piece of shrimp, scallop and whitebait tempura. It was just as good.

It may seem pricey for a donburi but if you think about it, we paid about 1000¥ per bowl for an excellent tendon and we didn't need to fly to Japan to get it. I highly recommend Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu for a real taste of Japan, for those who miss Japan and those who generally like fried food.

Reviews are available at KYSpeaks and Star Two

御馳走様でした! (Gochisousama deshita!)