Category Archives: Noodles

Soba no Mi Yoshimura

蕎麦の実よしむら is a great place Mewby and I only recently discovered,  though we must have passed it hundreds of times. I’m not sure why we didn’t go in before. Perhaps we thought that soba (buckwheat noodles) was all they did. Or perhaps we thought it was too expenive-looking. We were wrong on both counts.

Though the prices are surprisingly reasonable, Yoshimura certainly looks expensive on the inside. The interior has a kind of old-Japan charm to it. And you get to see the soba-making process first hand.

The dishes though are many and varied. I really like the little dried soba snacks they give you with your drinks before your meal. I also like the fact that they stock Yebisu Kohaku. Among the big dogs of Japan beers, this amber ale is one of the tastiest.

Here’s the meal we enjoyed on our last visit.

kaki nabe ~ oyster hot pot

oyster hot pot detail - absolutely gorgeous!

Soba Tofu no Dengaku ("dengaku" just means "grilled on sticks")

kumoko no tempura - "kumoko" can be roughly translated as a male cod's crown jewels

soba no mi zosui - "zosui" is rice gruel? porridge? Note the crunchy buckwheat seeds.

Check the online menu for other dishes and prices.

Soba no Mi Yoshimura is located on the north side of Gojo a short  walk east of Karasuma. Here is a map. They also have a sister shop in Arashiyama, named Arashiyama Yoshimura, that I haven’t been to (yet).

Lunch:11:00~14:30
Dinner:17:30~22:30
Last Orders: 22:00
Open every day.
Telephone: 075-353-0114

Highly recommended!

Mentei

img_9261This noodle shop by MotoTanaka station does some very nice homemade udon noodles. The owner (pictured a short ways below), is known to all his friends as Yama-chan, or by his customers simply as “Master”. I can’t remember what his real name is. He’s a very nice chap. I first met him in music bar Hawkwind one night, and when he told me he owned the nearby noodle shop I said “Oh! That place! I’ve eaten there.”
“How were the noodles?” he asked me. “Well,” I said, “The thing is, I really like nishin soba… And I’m quite strict about it because I like it so much. So, to be honest, the nishin soba at your place was good, but it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had.” I can be horribly honest sometimes. Yamachan however, remained unfazed.
“Next time you come to my shop,” he said, “You have to try the udon. Not the soba. My shop’s specialty is udon, afterall.”

img_9254Fair enough, I thought. So I went back to Mentei one night and ordered nishin with udon noodles to see what they were like. Below right you can see the dish that was set before me.

img_9257I proceeded to slurp noodles, soup and herring into myself as Yama-chan walked gingerly over. After a while I looked up with a big smile on my face. “Well,” says Yama-chan, “How are they?”

He wasn’t kidding about the udon. They were really great. And when I told him so, he was really happy – mostly with relief I expect.

As well as owning a fine noodle establishment Yama-chan also happens to be a pretty well known local folk singer, his stage name being: Udonya Mentei. I tell you, you meet some pretty interesting characters in Hawkwind. I’ll post more about him and his music at a later date.

img_9260

To find Mentei, go north on Higashioji Dori, past Hyakumanben, past Mikage Dori, until you get to the railway intersection at MotoTanaka. Mentei is on your right, below the cafe and live music venue Zanpano. Here is a map.

Open 11:30 – 23:00 or earlier if they sell out. Closed on Sundays.

Next post: Zac Baran and some very nice shakuhachi playing.

Omen

Today’s pictures come from Omen; not a scary movie but a small chain of old-style noodle restaraunts here in Kyoto. I ordered the standard (and popular) Omen noodles, which come with a dashi based soup and a variety of organic vegetables (spinach, ginger, daikon, gobou, chopped scallions, sesame seeds etc.) and they were pretty good. There are also other dishes on offer such as tempura or lightly fried tofu. Here are some pictures, you can click through to flickr for a closer look.

Omen has three branches in Kyoto and one in New York. I went to the branch just north of Shijo on the east side of Gokoumachi, but they also have one on north Shijo just west of the Kamo river, and another again up near Ginkakuji. The restaurant on Gokoumachi is quiet and pleasant and would be a good place to bring any visitors who are looking for authentic Japanese food. The standard Omen noodles will set you back ¥1,050. There are maps to all branches here: LINK. Thanks to Kathy Bradshaw for recommending this one.

Omen on the east side of Gokoumachi is open from 11:30 – 22:00 every day but Wedneday.
Tel: 075-255-2125
Omen by Ginkakuji is open from 11:00 – 22:00 every day but Wednesday.
Tel: 075-771-8994
Omen on Shijo is open from 11:30 – 22:00 every day but Wedneday.
Tel: 075-253-0377