Tiny temple to fried food Tempura Kuon opens in Haymarket

Tempura Kuon has only 10 seats.
Tempura Kuon has only 10 seats. Photo: Supplied

Does the idea of a $230-a-head temple to fried food sound a little ambitious in a health-obsessed city during uncertain economic times? Well, Tempura Kuon opens this week and Sydneysiders have spoken. It is booked out until mid-year.

"We opened bookings for April and May and every seat was taken in about six hours," says owner Kenny Lee. It helps that the new restaurant has just 10 seats.

Lee and his business partner, chef Hideaki Fukada, have opened opposite Kuon Omakase, the equally diminutive restaurant they launched last year.

Tempura uni (sea urchin) wrapped in shiso leaf.
Tempura uni (sea urchin) wrapped in shiso leaf. Photo: Supplied

The tempura restaurant might be devoted to the deep fryer, but the duo is acutely aware of not weighing down diners. Not only do they use expensive cold-pressed oil, it is changed each service at a cost of $200.

"We ate a lot of tempura [researching the restaurant] and you can tell when the oil isn't changed, the meal is heavy. Plus, we use an incredibly light batter," Lee says.

Diners will make their way through 14 to 17 pieces, and while there's some reprieve with sashimi to start and dessert, everything from exotic vegetable miniatures to scallops are served tempura-style.

Does Tempura Kuon have a signature dish? "Maybe the sea urchin egg, still a little runny, wrapped in shiso leaf," Lee says.

Open Tue-Sun dinner (Fri-Sun lunches to start in June).

SE04, Little Hay Street, Haymarket, tempurakuon.com.au