Update on April 12,2013.
Sadly this charming restaurant was burnt down in an unexpected fire a few months ago and is now closed. They say they renovating to reopen in a year or so. I really do hope so.
A TASTE OF OLD JAPAN
One thing I love about Tokyo is that everyday you have the chance to stumble upon something new, something unexpected. Today, I planned to have a soba lunch at a place called Muto in Nihonbashi but it was closed even when the website stated that it was opened for lunch on Saturdays. A quick google search for other soba places around the area brought us to Yabu soba.
I did not expect to find this old style little Japanese house surrounded by a wooden fence in an alley in Kanda (near Nihonbashi). It was the kind of restaurant you’d find in Kyoto, not hidden somewhere near the financial district of Tokyo.
It even had a cute little Japanese garden you had to walk through before entering the restaurant. There was a line waiting for tables but it did not take long before we were quickly ushered to our seats. The restaurant had a tatami section and a table section with low chairs, and was quite sizeable for Tokyo’s standards.
What immediate struck me when I entered was how the staff all greeted you and shouted out your orders in some sort of chant. It had a melody to it that was quite amusing.
They had an english menu available and since it was cold outside most of us opted for the hot soba. I ordered soba with fish cake and the rest of the group ordered soba with duck meat and the tempura soba.
I have to say that so far, this is the best soba I have tried in Tokyo. The soba was delicious and the soup tasted just right. It definitely was much tastier than other soba noodles I’ve tried. The portions however are quite small, so if you enter this establishment with an empty stomach you should order two portions like most of the male patrons of the restaurant did.
We also ended up ordering two extra cold soba dishes which were exquisite.
I did a little research after our delightful lunch and found that Yabu soba first opened its doors in 1880 and their soba are served “seiro” style which means firm noodles made from ten parts buckwheat flour to one part wheat flour, which are then dipped in a tasty broth and enjoyed.
Well, for me, finding this place was definitely a pleasant surprise.
Price : $$