|Soba at Shimbashi|
Soba noodles! They're all handmade, hence the appealing irregularity in shape and size. Love it!
17 Liverpool St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Ph: (03) 9654-6727
Shimbashi has been open for a few months now, and having briefly seen some positive mentions of "this handmade soba place in the city" on Instagram and Twitter, it was kinda on my radar as a potential place to try.
However, it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that it moved up to the "let's go here NOW" part of my brain! We'd caught up with a friend for seriously amazing gelati at Spring Street Grocery (blogpost to come, because I love that place!), and walking back to the tram afterwards, she pointed out this tiny little restaurant down a lane - "Hey, that's the really good handmade soba place". The vague mentions I'd read on social media crystallised in my mind - so that's where it is! - and I promptly arranged a Friday night get-together there with some friends. Yay!
Shimbashi really felt like a blast from the past, for me - I don't go to that part of the city often these days, and when we walked down Liverpool lane, I was reminded me of my 80's childhood, with Little Malaysia close by.
|Shimbashi interior including buckwheat mill|
The offer a good range of different sakes and shochu, as well as Japanese soft drinks... including Ramune! I love this stuff - especially the funky bottle!
We wanted to try some sake, but weren't in the mood for a big night, so ordered a bottle of sweet sparkling hoshi no nagare sake to share. (I have no idea where this rates in terms of quality, but it tasted good to me! And I was rather taken with the name: "stream of stars").
|Hoshi no nagare sake|
|Horenso no ohitashi|
I think we must have gotten a little over excited, ordering three starters as well as our (generously-portioned) mains. Although the soba is clearly the star of the show, the starters we ordered were all very good too.
The sushi rolls were very fresh and had nice soft rice.
|Nasu no dengaku|
The standout here were the flavoursome and moist dumplings - I'm not sure if they're the same dumplings as the gyoza also offered on the menu, but if they are I'll be ordering a dozen of those next time! The bonito-based broth was a little too seafoody for our seafood-avoider Sandra, so after eating the dumplings, chicken and most of the noodles, she passed it to me and I got to finish it. Muahaha!
I'd never tried gomadare before, but some quick googling tells me that the sauce is available in bottles at Japanese groceries - so you could easily make a low-rent version of this delicious dish at home! Side note: this dish was similar to something I often cook for myself : soba dressed with a mixture of sesame paste, minced garlic, Chinese chilli oil with sediments, black vinegar and soy sauce. (Fuchsia Dunlop-inspired, obviously).
I didn't take note of individual prices, sorry, but to give an indication - the starters were all around the $9 mark, and the mains were around $17, with my gomadare soba being slightly cheaper at around $13. Our bill that night came up to about $106 for our group of four. I thought it was expensive at first, but then I realised that this included: hand-made soba noodles, a bottle of sake, and three starters. Definitely worth it!