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Who says good, fresh tempura requires major outlays of time and money? Back in the day, batter-fried foods — introduced by the Portuguese five centuries ago — were cooked and sold at street stalls, eaten as a light meal on the fly or nibbled as a snack with sake.

That’s pretty much the way it’s done at Kikuya, except instead of squatting at a street stall you stand at a modern counter in tried-and-true tachinomiya (“standing bar”) style. There are plenty of simple side dishes to go with the drinks but Kikuya’s main calling card is tempura, cooked to order in front of your eyes.

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