This is yet another outlet in the Kuriya chain (they who run Ichibanboshi), who seem to be taking over the world just as Crystal Jade are… I haven’t had much luck with ordering Zaru Soba recently – for some reason, most of the Japanese joints I’ve been to lately have either run out, or stopped selling it altogether (Amanogawa at the new Raffles City Marketplace).
We actually wanted to go to a different Japanese restaurant at Paragon, but it had been taken over by Toys R Us. I was about to wail at my arse luck yet again, when I suddenly remembered seeing the restaurant in the basement dedicated to soba, so we decided to give it a try.
Of course, my luck had to run out at SOME point, because the dish that I wanted, a cold soba with a duck broth dipping sauce, was out of stock. Thanks to bird flu, they’ve been having some problems with their suppliers so no duck on the menu for the time being. So I ordered a simple cold soba with the classic dipping sauce, and A had a cold spicy beef soba.
The place mats have detailed and rather hilarious instructions on how to savour a traditional cold soba. Things like “when it first arrives, look at it for a moment, and breathe in its fresh fragrance”. I tried to do all the steps to A’s embarrassment, heh. Anyway, clowning around aside, my cold soba craving was finally satiated. Although there was no quail’s egg, this was one of the best cold sobas I’ve had in a very long time. Unlike the one at Ichinaboshi and Kuriya, the dipping sauce here retained its flavour to the last strand of noodle. At the end of the meal, they even give you a small jar of Soba-yu (the water used to cook the noodle), which you’re supposed to pour into the leftover dipping sauce and savour it as a broth.
A big bonus was the fact that we were seated right next to the soba-making room, and we had a perfect view of the soba noodle chef strutting his stuff. We managed to catch him making a batch of soba from scratch – all the way from measuring the flour, kneading the dough, to rolling it out paper thin and cutting it into perfectly even threads of noodles, all by hand. It was a pretty awesome sight.
Apparently, they expect to have their duck supply ironed out by next month. Maybe I’ll give them a month to sort themselves out, and make my way there again in September.
Soba so good. Gotta love the copywriter/marketer who sold that line. The food and service are decent enough. Catch the noodle show’s finale (noodle cutting) if you can.