KUALA LUMPUR: Throw a stone in any direction and you’re likely to hit a sushi restaurant. But a tempura bar? That’s a whole new story.
Tempura is a dish of seafood or vegetables coated in a delicate and light batter and deep-fried ever so gently to perfection.
History reveals that tempura was influenced by the fritter-cooking techniques of the Portuguese residing in Nagasaki in the 16th century.
Nevertheless, tempura is often regarded as an authentic Japanese dish, something that Tenmasa at Platinum Park in the city celebrates in the most refined and flavourful of ways.
Located next to its sister restaurant Sushi Ryu, Tenmasa caters to the refined palates of a select clientele, which is the reason why there are only four tables for diners.
Others are invited to sit at the 10-seater tempura counter where they can witness firsthand the sophisticated and skillful art of tempura-making under the guidance of Chef Masanori Iwaasa.
At the media launch of Tenmasa recently, it was learned that Chef Masanori learned his craft at Tempura Masa in Ginza, Tokyo, one of the world’s most highly regarded and prestigious institutions of tempura-making.
To watch the chefs at Tenmasa at work is a treat in itself as they move with grace and focus – patting the ingredients dry, dusting with flour, lightly coating with batter and dropping each morsel gently into oil heated at precisely 180°C.
The first offering to guests was the sweet potato and pumpkin tempura that was light on the tongue but bursting with natural, sweet and savoury flavours.
The seaweed tempura topped with a generous slab of Japanese glass prawn had a hint of wasabi soy, and was both a joy to behold and a treat to the taste buds.
The showstopper of the day was undoubtedly the wagyu sukiyaki tempura. A luxurious creation, this particular offering was a class above the rest and a celebration of refined flavours skilfully handled.
Chef Masanori explained that all ingredients for Tenmasa’s tempura offerings are air-flown from Japan three times a week – from the beef and seafood to the vegetables, and even the rice bran oil used for frying.
The sole ingredient locally sourced is the freshwater prawns, which are kept in a live tank in the kitchen.
Tenmasa is created and operated by The Curate Group, founders of boutique Japanese dining concepts namely Sushi Ryu, Bar Shake and Sushi Den.
“All the restaurants are related but they have their own concepts. Tenmasa is the first and only tempura bar in Malaysia and we are proud of that.
“We don’t feel tempura was ever a side dish. The batter, the ingredients and the type of oil used all play a role,” says Nerine Tan, Director of The Curate Group.
Level 2, Tower 1
Mondays to Saturdays:
Lunch: 12.00pm to 3.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 11.00pm
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