Having opened its doors in Sapporo in 1962, the long-established Japanese restaurant, Susukino Naniwatei, shares its entrance with another restaurant, Tempura Masa, where Chef Masayuki Murai offers what he calls “Ezomae” tempura.
Born as the third generation of Susukino Naniwatei, Murai trained for seven years at Kikunoi, a long-established Japanese restaurant in Kyoto. Then, following the advice of his father, who was running Susukino Naniwatei as the second-generation owner at the time, he moved to Tokyo to learn tempura cooking techniques at a renowned restaurant, Tempura Kondo. In April 2021, he returned to his hometown to open Tempura Masa. The kanji character for “Masa” in the restaurant’s logo was handwritten by his father with a mixture of black ink and oil and flour from Tempura Kondo. This implies his father’s high expectations for the third-generation owner of the tempura restaurant.
Tempura Masa only offers prix-fixe menus, each consisting of a couple of seasonal dishes and some 10 pieces of tempura made with local seafood and vegetables to celebrate the seasonal bounty of Hokkaido. For example, in the spring, tempura made from edible wild plants picked by Chef Murai is served with a story about how he collected the plants. His seasonal menus include not only local specialties, such as scallops and sea urchins, but also other local products, such as mackerel and sailfin sandfish, so that guests can explore the diverse flavors of Hokkaido.
The tempura is deep-fried in a blend of untoasted and lightly toasted sesame oil. The flour is dehydrated in the fridge for three days until it becomes dry and smooth like powdered snow. His perfectionism extends to the iron pots that he asked a professor at Muroran Institute of Technology to make for cooking rice, which he uses to cook a local brand of rice called Yumepirika. Served as the last course of a meal, the rice cooked with a lavish amount of seasonal seafood and stock in these iron pots is a special treat only available at this restaurant.
The wine and sake lists also feature local specialties. Among them, Nanatsumori Pinot Noir from Domaine Takahiko pairs perfectly with the Shiitake Tempura offered by Chef Murai, as guaranteed by the owner of the winery.
The restaurant’s interior also uses many local materials, as exemplified by the walls partly covered with soft stone from Sapporo and the eight-seat counter made of oak from Asahikawa. Please enjoy the “Ezomae” tempura cooked by Chef Murai with respect and affection for local products to your heart’s content with your family, friends, colleagues or partner.
* The availability of this webpage does not guarantee that the restaurant presented provides services in English, unless otherwise stated. Please be aware that English services may also depend on staff availability at the restaurant.
2 minutes walk from Exit 2 of Susukino Station on Namboku Line