[Tokyo] Narutomi 手打ち蕎麦 成冨 - Members Only Handmade Soba?
We actually passed by this soba shop Narutomi several times before eventually venturing in for lunch one rainy day. It wasn't until after our visit that we found out from English reviews online that the shop owner seemingly doesn't welcome foreigners and gives the "members only" excuse to turn them away. Since we were able to walk in without any reservation, the shop certainly wasn't members only and I find it appalling to discriminate based on race to be honest. We were probably lucky enough to pass as Japanese since J speaks fluent Japanese so we got seated at the counter with no issues at all.
The restaurant offers different types of tempura paired with either hot or cold soba noodles which is known as one of the best in the city as Narutomi uses 100% buckwheat flour - resulting in richer grain flavors and smoother textures. I wanted to try the scallop tempura which was sold out so we ended up getting our cold soba with anago and white bait fish tempura. The food took a while to come since there were only 2 people cooking in the kitchen but it was well worth the wait - both the tempura and soba were superb and well-executed. The tempura was thinly battered and came with a dash of salt for seasoning but the real star here was the soba noodles which had an irresistibly chewy and bouncy mouth feel. At the end we were given some sobayu (the water that the soba was cooked in) to add into the remaining dipping sauce to finish the meal. It was definitely a satisfying soba meal and while the service wasn't exactly super friendly, we didn't notice that anything was amiss. It's a shame that this shop is not more welcoming toward foreigners (probably because of bad experiences in the past) but that's not to say that all restaurants in Tokyo are like this so if you can't get into Narutomi, just go somewhere else.
White Bait Fish Tenseiro (¥1800)
Anago Tenseiro (¥1800)
8-18-6 Ginza Chuo Tokyo
東京都 中央区 銀座 8-18-6 二葉ビル
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