Friday, January 26, 2007

Sakurazaka (櫻坂), Shibuya

(JR Shibuya station, South exit - cross the pedestrian bridge on your left, take right up the hill by Family Mart, the first on your left -> Map )

What: ramen (shio)
Recommendation: shio
Verdict: Excellentolainen (4/5)

The Story
"You think it's any good?" I asked my Korean friend Willow. We were back in Shibuya for another ramen adventure. Thursday night, all energy and inspiration drained from yet another week of seemingly end-/fruitless studies. Wasn't really in the mood for ramen, either. But that was just the grumpiness of my low blood sugar talking.
"Dunno. But the rumour says it's great," Willow replied as we were trying to locate the spot.

The place
Found it, dove inside, bought our food tickets from the vending machine inside the door - prices ranging from a friendly 650 yen for "sakura-shio soba" (seems they're famous for tsuke-men as well, but haven't tried it yet). Cozy, zen-retro interior (seems to be a lot of that around lately), nice and clean. Minutes later, the bowls were placed in front of us: the soup had an enigmatically beautiful cloudy colour, which well balances those of the leek and the half-boiled egg. But we didn't come to play art conoisseurs, we had come for ramen.

The noodles
We each dipped our renge spoon in the soup and sipped it.
Willow: lifted eyebrows
Yours truly: "Mhmn!"

The taste was rich, exquisitly refined, and was perfectly balanced to match the noodles. The egg was deliciously soft and rich in flavour. And the noodles? Oh, brother, let me tell you about the noodles! Made in the slightly thick style (futo-men), they were fabulously al dente, and had the slickest surface texture (nodo-goshi) I've experienced yet.

Has the jury reached its verdict?
Could go on forever recommending this place, and probably have already. So, if you haven't got it yet: GO THERE!

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