Japan (Kyoto) Nov 2018: Kyoboshi - Tempura that's a family business

This is the last of my Japan posts that you’ll be subjected to…

Not to be confused with Nanachome Kyoboshi in Tokyo (a former 3*** Michelin restaurant), this restaurant is in the Gion district of Kyoto. And to make things even more confusing, chef Sakakibara-San of 7-Chome Kyoboshi is the uncle of chef Sakakibara-San of the Kyoto Kyoboshi. You can see similarities in the style of cooking, the batter used, and some of the ingredients used.

The drink menu:

Decided I would go with shochu for the night, and I like the pungency of imo shochu, so selected the below (have forgotten the name):

Condiments: (lemon juice, salt, grated daikon as a palate cleanser)

Shrimp toast - This was great, but not as heavenly as I remember from my visit to 7-Chome Kyoboshi

Kisu (whiting)


Sakakibara-san at his craft

The first of three (what I believe to be kuruma) ebi courses

One of my favorites - fish with seaweed

Green beans (the first of three courses)

Lotus root - a highlight - the texture inside was chewy, but the outside was perfectly crispy, like the best (for me) french fries

Fish in shiso - I unfortunately did not take notes, so cannot recall a few of the types of fish in these pics :frowning:

The third of the green bean courses - notable for the display; he made this by skewering all the beans with a stick, frying them, and then pulling out the stick once the batter had solidified





Shochu 2 - Wow! She called this Seki Toba - I hope I got that right. This might be the best imo shochu I’ve had - just enough sweet potato flavor and pungency, but rich and smooth

Sweet potato - glazed with sugar and brandy before frying - not quite dessert; that’s sugar and not salt for dipping

Tencha - this was soothing, and the fried shrimp was softened by the tea

Fruit (the true dessert)

I had eaten at 7-Chome Kyoboshi in Tokyo, which had many of the same ingredients. This meal didn’t didn’t hit the heights of 7-Chome Kyoboshi, but I don’t know if that’s due to a difference in quality or because the former was my first ever tempura meal in Japan. The service was quite friendly - Sakakibara-san cooked, and his wife served drinks. I personally didn’t think 7-Chome Kyoboshi was worth returning to at its nosebleed price levels, but I would definitely try to go back to Kyoboshi in Kyoto at 1/3 of the price.

However, I think it’s time for me to try some of the other notable tempura restaurants in Tokyo.


I loved the powdered-sugar like salt that they use, haven’t seen that anywhere in la.


The confectionary salt is labor-intensive mortar & pestle grinding of whatever salt you’d like to use. It coats the food much better than crystal grains when dipped. Freaking Japan…


Ask for yuki shio (snow salt) when you are in Japan. It is available at most specialty stores.


Shochu might be the best beverage with tempura (if you don’t count beer which is easy). I think you made the right choice!

Having tried something even as masculine and robust as Kikuhime BY Daiginjo (brought to Tempura Endo Beverly Hills) with a higher alcohol content and dryness, and lower polished Junmai and Junmai Ginjo (Motoyoshi in Tokyo), the progression of having various fried items despite the refined frying technique, does impact the palate quite a bit where the sake isn’t quite working as well further into the meals. If there was a really robust full bodied classical style Junmai that could withstand heat and have elevated aroma, umami, pronounced acidity, then hot sake would be something I would want to try with tempura like this.

Supposedly Sonoji is one of the Tokyo tempura greats, and plus you get excellent soba to finish off at the end.

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