We have been eating a lot of soba since we got here of varying quality levels though, here even the lowest level of food is really good! But tonight we went to a high end soba restaurant that prides itself on the quality of its Soba! Soba is a form of noodle made from buckwheat (soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat). Soba can be eaten hot or cold and either comes by itself and dipped in sauce or in a bowl of broth as a form of noodle soup.
After a really friendly welcome from all of the staff (mother, father, sister and son) we sat down and encountered the age old problem of the menu being in Japanese. As we only started learning the Katakana today we were not up to translating it. Thankfully the chef spoke a little English and was able to guide us. After asking him (in Japanese) what he recommended I ordered hot soba in the broth with prawn and vegetable tempura. J ordered cold soba with dipping sauce and tempura scallops and vegetables. While we waited we got to watch the chef at work and I was delighted when two live prawns appeared in front of me and within 30 seconds were shelled, whilst alive and wriggling, and put into the tempura batter and popped in the deep fryer, separately head, tail and all! It really doesn’t get any fresher than that! All the preparation was done in front of us and the man (father) in charge of the soba carefully selected it from the wooden boxes and weighed each portion exactly before submerging it into a coldron size boiling pot for just 20 seconds and then putting it in ice cold water to stop it cooking immediately.
The food was exquisite and to my surprise the head and tail of the prawn was delicious and very crunchy in a delightful way! J’s scallops were just cooked on the outside and still raw on the inside and they were delicious as well! To accompany our feast we had buckwheat tea, which was gorgeous and J had a thick liquid drink at the end of his meal which was made our of the white starch from the buckwheat. While we ate we watched the chef meticulously prepare oysters tempura, eel, seasonal vegetables and more wriggling prawns!
It was one of the best meals in Tokyo so far!!!!
Here is a link to the google street view of the restaurant, it is directly to the right of Horiba.