22 Apr Shimbashi, Melbourne CBD
I had a 5 hour break while I was at uni so went to visit Shimbashi for lunch. The soba noodles are handmade in-house and when I arrived the chef (Takafumi Kumayama) was making the noodles at the window at front of the restaurant.
There were a range of soba offerings ranging from $10 to about $19 under the general categories of hot and cold. The hot soba came in broth, whilst the cold options came with a separate/less broth. For my first visit I thought I’d go for the Seiro Soba ($10), which is cold soba presented with dipping sauce (soba tsuyu). Apparently this is the traditional way to truly appreciate soba, and given the soba is handmade it seemed fitting.
After placing my order I received a little bowl of sliced cabbage, cucumber and tomato with a sauce. It seemed to be soy with a bit a vinegar. The soba noodles were smooth with a firm bite, and though I picked the simplest dish, it was very satisfying. I mixed all the wasabi into the noodles then poured the tsuyu into the shallow dish for my noodles. The proper way to eat the soba is to slurp it up so that the smoothness of the noodle can be appreciated. For some reason I have problems with slurping so I half-slurped and half-pulled the noodles into my mouth with my tongue. There was a man sitting nearby who had been taking promotional photos for the restaurant on his iPad and he seemed to know what he was doing. After observing him, I later realised the shallow dish was only for serving the spring onions and wasabi, and I should have actually dipped the soba into the big cup.
When I had finished my noodles, the waitress brought a cup of water that my soba had been cooked in. The idea is to pour the hot sobayu into the leftover tsuyu and drink it. It was very tasty, and supposedly healthy, so I tried not to think about the vast amounts of sodium I was consuming.
Whilst I don’t usually eat dessert, the sake pudding ($5) sounded intriguing so I gave it a go. The sake-infused panna cotta-like pudding was smooth, with a delicate flavour and wasn’t too sweet. It was topped with some yuzu sauce and a few thin slices of yuzu, which gave some tartness to contrast with the pudding. I enjoyed it; at $5 it was worth a try, but I’m not sure it was good enough to overcome my non-sweet tooth.
Overall I was really happy with my meal. I was disappointed to see another couple leave behind practically a whole plate of untouched soba. Such a waste!
17 Liverpool St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9654 6727