Light and a little bit crispy, tempura adds tons of umami – literally, ‘deliciousness’ – to any Japanese meal. Unlike most fried foods, the batter uses flour, eggs and water (instead of oil and breadcrumbs) to create a beautifully crunchy crust that enhances the flavour of seafood and veggies. It’s the perfect compliment to a cuisine that’s known for going back-to-basics. Next time you’re dining out, treat yourself to tempura at these sizzling spots.
In the CBD, this cafeteria-style eatery serves up rice, udon noodles, and all the deep-fried deliciousness you can handle. Choose your base, then add tempura toppings such as prawn, sweet potato, white fish, and our personal favourite, vegetable kakiage. When you reach the end of the noodle bar, take it up a notch and ask for a handful of tempura flakes to finish.
Shop 11, 537-551 George Street, Sydney
Yachiyo dishes up a selection of deep-fried delights, such as chilli prawn, zucchini flower and corn tempura with a braised yuzu chilli miso sauce for a spicy hit. If we had to choose just one, we’d go with the chicken karaage, which is cooked in a miso batter and drizzled with wasabi mayonnaise.
Darlinghurst and Mosman
For tasty tempura, get to Toko early to put your name down (the restaurant doesn’t take bookings), and sip on a sake-based cocktail while you dream about the signature Moreton Bay bug tempura. Stick to the theme and order a feast of tempura zucchini flowers, crispy soft shell crab, or chicken kaarage with caviar, whipped sour cream and hot sauce.
490 Crown Street, Surry Hills
In the mood to indulge? Make your way to Sushi Masa, which is famous in foodie circles for its tempura Camembert. Served hot, it’s as decadent as it gets, and don’t be surprised if you spot your fellow diners drooling. Cheese aside, the buzzing and beloved local serves seafood tempura.
30 Pyrmont Bridge Road, Camperdown
Sokyo is home to a culinary dream team and while the sashimi, sushi and smoked ponzu are amazing, the tempura is a treat. The lobster with papaya salad and spicy mayo is incredible, as is the red snapper with black pepper chilli vinegar. The vegetarian menu features tempura delights like asparagus with truffle sauce and enoki mushroom with garlic ponzu.
The Star, Level G, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont
Cho Cho San is where the cool kids go for Japanese – and it’s worth every Instagram. With a menu designed for sharing, be sure to order the karaage, calamari and potato scallop for the table. Just be sure to save room for dessert – it’s a sin to leave this Potts Point restaurant without trying the green tea soft serve.
73 Macleay Street, Potts Point