After taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) without incident, we arrived to Kyoto Station ready to eat our way through the city. I swear those stations were so frustrating. We didn’t know how to walk through it without having to pay for a ticket, so we walked around it. That was a bad idea because it seemed like a really long walk to lunch. Then when we arrived, we were quoted a 15 minute wait, but it only turned out to be 5 minutes. What’s up with the Japanese and estimating wait time?
Sobanomi Yoshimura serves fresh, house made soba. I thought it was super cool how you’re able to watch them make soba completely from scratch. They start with whole buckwheat, which they ground down to a flour. From there, one guy is making the dough, another is rolling it out, and another is cutting it into noodles.
Our seats were at the counter where the fresh soba was cooked. I was fascinated. I was excited for the freshest soba of my life.
We ordered 2 sets, nishu-soba-zen and utage-zen* for 1360 and 3000 yen respectively. Both sets allowed us to try hot and cold soba.
The agar was pretty different, tastier than any previous agar I’ve tasted.
The soba was different. It was more unctuous. The fine granules of buckwheat flour were more perceptible on my tongue. The broth was just the right balance of salt, sweet, umami.
I appreciated more chewiness here. I enjoyed dipping the cold noodles into the soy sauce, green onions, with wasabi. The wasabi in Japan can be better almost any food.
The tempura bowl was very tasty. I actually thought the tempura was better here than at Tempura Kondo. I even liked the tempura shiso leaf.
Oysters, Spring Vegetables, Pork with Wasabi*
The Annoyer enjoyed the little appetizers.
Sashimi tuna, scallop, kanpachi, madai*
He enjoyed the sashimia eeeeeevveeen more.
This was quite similar to the hot udon I tried, but with some extra accoutrements with vegetables and seaweed.
My first bite made me pause. I didn’t know the flavor. There was some nuttiness. There was some graininess. The Annoyer thought that maybe they used buckwheat in the ice cream. I had heard about soba cookies, which are made from buckwheat flour, and maybe these were used in the ice cream. In retrospect, it was probably kinako or roasted soybean flour ice cream. This seems to be an ice cream flavor special to Kyoto. I was really in heaven after the first few bites! It was so different. It was reminiscent of black sesame. YUMS!
I really enjoyed my meal at Sobanomi. The soba was fresh. The meal sets were varied and complete. The food was very filling and at a good value. The walk here made it seem far from Kyoto Station, but it’s really only a 20 minute walk if you can navigate yourself through the station and get yourself on the north side of it. It was that ice cream that really did me in though!
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here