Kyorakutei is a good place to get an education in soba. This old-school restaurant in the backstreets of Kagurazaka features a grinder in its storefront window, where the noodle master makes soba by hand. You’ll also get to compare the two different types of buckwheat noodles: the regular soba, which is made by cutting a small percentage of wheat flour, and the juwari soba that’s a craft by itself as it uses pure 100 percent buckwheat.
Darker in colour compared to the regular soba, the juwari soba at Kyorakutei is one of the best we’ve had. The texture is firm with a bit of give, and it has a beautiful nuttiness that makes it delicious even on its own. The best way to appreciate the texture and flavour is to eat it cold with a side of dipping broth.
We also have to tip our hats off to Kyorakutei for executing its tempura with great finesse when most noodle restaurants simply treat theirs as merely a cursory accompaniment to soba or udon. Get the seasonal tempura, especially when pike conger and ayu (sweetfish) are in season.
There’s more items on the menu – from udon and hiyamugi (thin and light wheat noodles that’s prevalent in summer) to grilled conger eel (anago) and sake – but for first timers, you can’t go wrong with the soba and tempura.