Soba noodles have been eaten in Japan since the 17th-century Tokugawa period. The best ones meet three conditions: they’re freshly milled (hiki-tate), freshly made (uchi-tate) and freshly cooked (yude-tate). So it is at Shimbashi Soba, where a stone mill hums away next to the entrance, slow-grinding organic Tasmanian buckwheat that’s turned into noodles daily. Hidden in the kitchen is the sobayu – the cauldron of boiling water that cooks the noodles.

Owner Takafumi Kumayama spent 20 years making soba in Japan and Singapore, and says Tasmanian buckwheat is more flavourful and fragrant than its Japanese counterpart. His noodles are also 100 per cent buckwheat (unlike most Japanese soba, which contain 20 per cent wheat flour) – which makes them gluten-free, just like the restaurant’s soy sauce and tempura batter.

Containing all nine essential amino acids, soba noodles are often served chilled with dipping sauce (tsuyu) during summer, and hot in broth (dashi) during winter. Extra toppings, usually tempura seafood and vegetables, are served on the side. The full spectrum is represented at Shimbashi.

The warm tempura soba is a banger, mixing citrusy yuzu zest, spring onion, two types of seaweed and assorted tempura including prawn, whiting and veggies. More unique is the vegan soba bulked up with three kinds of mushrooms and topped with grated tororo (grated mountain yam), much prized in Japan for its refreshing character. And a non-traditional dish is the spicy Red Dragon – soba noodles in a soy milk, mushroom and sesame-based broth with various toppings, resembling tantanmen ramen.

Outside of the signature soba noodles, there are bento boxes and rice bowls with karaage, teriyaki salmon and agedashi tofu, plus plenty of vegetarian and vegan sushi rolls.

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Updated: April 10th, 2024

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