Japanese cuisine has plenty of fried dishes: the most popular being tonkatsu and tempura. In this feature, we talk about a restaurant where you can try a variety of fried food under one roof. Opened in April 2022, Tarutaru Numa (タルタルNUMA) serves fried food that has been coated in panko crumbs and cooked on a low heat.
Located in Shibuya, the restaurant is just a 5-minute walk from the station. Look for the cute sign!
As soon as you enter, you will see a self-checkout machine. Both cash and cards are accepted.
Only counter seats are available. You will be directed by staff to your seat and you can order through a tablet once seated. Even though the menu isn’t entirely in English, there are images to help you choose.
This time we ordered Set C consisting of vegan tartar sauce (USP), salmon roe, three kinds of deep fried items-fried shrimp, fried mackerel, fried chicken (tenderloin)-served with chopped cabbage, pickles, soup and rice.
Lower-priced sets do not include salmon roe but no doubt they will also be just as delicioius.
The fried food is made only after ordering and you can watch the chef’s cooking process through the counter. Each seat has a small grill for serving fried food. This helps keep the crust crunchy and avoids any sogginess. The first item to arrive is the shrimp.
There are two special sauces that the restaurant has developed especially for fried food: one is the classic tonkatsu sauce, the other an aojiso (green perilla) dressing.
What made this place famous is its rich, creamy vegan tartar sauce served in a parfait cup. You can dip your fried food in this sauce or pour it over your food.
The fresh salmon roe can be sprinkled on top of your fried items too.
There is plenty of sauce so you can be generous with it.
We first placed the tartar sauce on the shrimp and topped it with the salmon roe. Doesn’t it look delicious?
You can see how succulent the shrimp is. The thick but light and pale panko fried at low temperature is just perfect, without being too greasy.
Next we try the mackerel (aji fry).
You can try the same topping as the shrimp to start.
Usually, mackerel is eaten with tonkatsu sauce.
Combining the tartar sauce with the tonkatsu sauce here was the most flavorsome.
Next up is the fried chicken tenderloin. Japan is known for its karaage but the flavor of panko-crusted chicken is quite different.
Even though we were skeptical, the chicken was very soft, fragrant and delicious.
Adding a little bit of vinegar elevated the dish.
What did you think of this restaurant? If you loved fried food and plan to visit Shibuya, do visit Tarutaru Numa.
Tarutaru Numa (タルタルNUMA)
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