Pre-soba sake & post-sake soba – Enjoy Japan’s soba culture, delicious duck and profound sincerity
Located one bus stop over from Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion) sits the restaurant Soba Shubo Ichii.
Living up to its name, this restaurant has been serving both soba noodles, a massive range of different Japanese sake, and Sobamae (pre-soba appetizers and drinks), since it opened its doors in 2015.
Owner Ichihara told us that what he loved about sobamae was that it allows you to sit back with a drink, have a snack and enjoy a bowl of soba, all in one place. He continued by saying that his reason for opening Ichii was that he wished to make sobamae a known part of Japanese food culture.
In addition to his love for soba, Ichihara also has a fierce dedication to quality ingredients as well.
Ichii’s soba noodles are cut fresh every day and boiled in beautiful water from the mountainous area of Kyomi-toge. The rather bougie dashi soup stock features Kafuka grown Rishi kombu and Wasanbon sugar for added flavor.
The vegetables are all home-grown, while the exquisite duck meat is a brand called Kawachi Kamo. Including Ichii, the number of restaurants that offer this specific brand of duck meat in Kyoto can be counted on one hand.
In addition, everything served at Ichii is additive and pesticide-free.
Owner Ichihara’s devotion can truly be seen reflected in this absolute thoroughness. Ichihara believes that “The best food is that made with sincerity and love for the person eating it. That’s why mother’s cooking made with love for her child tops anything else.” The tenderness that comes from this sincerity he talks about and his refined culinary skills are both fully on display in every one of his dishes.
At Soba Shubo Ichii, you’re sure to be treated to both beautiful dishes made with honesty and sincerity and the Japanese culture of drinking at soba shops.
Seiro Soba – Buckwheat Noodles
/ ￥1,480 (Inc. Tax)
This Seiro Soba comes with cold soba noodles and a warm bowl of concentrated tsuyu noodle dipping sauce, which is filled with thickly cut duck meat.
The flavorful, yet lightly aromatic kombu dashi together with the delicious umami of the duck meat is why this is one of Soba Shubo Ichii’s most beloved dishes.
The best aspect of this dish is the heavenly combination of the aromatic and chewy hand-cut soba noodles with the tsuyu soaked, juicy duck meat.
Near the end of the dish, warm Soba-yu will also be provided (see How to Order for details).
This dish is a must-try when coming to Soba Shubo Ichii.
Kamo Namban Soba – Buckwheat Noodles w/ Duck Meat and Japanese Leek
/ ￥1,480 (Inc. Tax)
This Kamo Namban Soba is a bowl of soba noodles in a warm broth topped with Kawachi duck meat. The perfectly grilled Japanese leeks are sweet, while the Mitsuba leaf adds an accent to the dish. The nearly clear dashi soup is gentle, yet flavorful.
This dish is perfect for those times when you just want to warm up or for a post-drinks bowl of noodles.
The three pieces of Kawachi duck are meat abandonedly thick, making this bowl of soba an incredibly satisfying and filling dish.
Duck Breast Grilled w/ Salt
/ ￥1,200 (Inc. Tax)
This dish is a specialty of Soba Shubo Ichii and features Kawachi duck meat from Tsumura Honten. The duck meat is seasoned with salt and grilled. The duck meat lacks any of the gaminess usually expected of duck and is exceptionally soft.
The dish comes with a side of lemon salt and Yuzu pepper with which you can enjoy a rainbow of different flavors. The duck meat is fresh enough to even eat raw; however, you can feel free to request the degree to which you would like it cooked.
If you’re going try Sobamae and order a drink, then this is the perfect dish to do it with.
/ ￥1,150 (Inc. Tax)
Soba Shubo Ichii fries their tempura in a special copper pot which conducts heat well. The tempura is fried one ingredient at a time, abd Ichii make sure to adjust the temperature accordingly each time.
This dish is truly an example of owner Ichihara’s culinary talents.
Using only homegrown vegetables, Ichii offer a range of tempura, including some not so common ones, such as broccoli. The tempura comes with a side of both dipping sauce and salt. The salt allows you to enjoy the crunchy batter of the tempura, while the dipping sauce gives you a wonderful aroma and brings out some of the beautiful flavors of the ingredients.