Sarashina Horii, Tokyo - perfecting the art of soba
|Soba with fresh baby bamboo at Sarashina Horii
Sarashina Horii is nestled on a quiet street down the hill from the thriving expat community in Roppongi (although the closest metro station is Azabu-juban). Don't be put off by the location under a nondescript apartment block, the "menu in English" sign and the plastic versions of food in a display cabinet outside, because inside you will find a particularly Japanese experience. I was impressed by the various seating options, including a large section devoted to low tables atop tatami mats, but Mr B and I shared a regular table with a Japanese couple. Actually, we were the only non-Japanese in the restaurant, which was filled with various generations of locals slurping with gusto while we inexpertly inhaled our noodles. It's a harder manoeuvre to perfect than it looks, and I definitely need more practice. We went for an early Sunday lunch after a brief look around Roppongi Hills and by 12.30pm the place was full and a small queue had formed.
We started with a simmered pork dish and ordered the two seasonal soba dishes - one with wakame and fresh strips of fresh bamboo and the other with spanking fresh little neck clams. We were also given a refreshingly good cold tea.
|Simmered pork belly at Sarashina Horii
|Soba with fresh little neck clams at Sarashina Horii
With a no reservations policy and a queue of eager noodlers eyeing up the table, Sarashina Horii is not really a place to linger, so grab the bill, which is left discretely on your table, and head up to the counter to pay (it's cash only and won't break the bank). After lunch you might want to wander over to the impressive Zojo-ji Buddhist temple or head to the Tokyo Tower, both of which are easily walkable in about 15-20 minutes. A belly full of pork and warm noodles will definitely set you up for the afternoon.