...an expat libertine with a penchant for sparkly dining partners, jazz bars and izakaya.
Opinions here expressed are not necessarily shared by any with whom I associate. Fault for errors and any offense caused is entirely my own.

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Entries in Noodles (10)


Toshian, Shirokanedai  利庵、白金台

A venerable soba joint on Platinum Dōri just a couple of minutes walk from Shirokanedai station, Toshian is both popular and worth a visit.

Lunchtimes are especially busy, and on high days queues are to be expected.

Not a large shop, the interior is traditional and sitting face-to-face with strangers is the norm. 

The menu is comprehensive, the service a little brusque, and the food excellent, although the tempura is of the heavy/ oily type rather than the light and crisp variety I’ve come to prefer.

Both the tendon and tempura soba were excellent, the soba being particularly good.

The tamagoyaki, seemingly a dish for which the shop is loved, was fluffy and sweet. 

Not the cheapest lunch around, but thoroughly enjoyable.


03 3444 1741 



Komatsuan, Shibuya  小松庵、渋谷

Komatsuan is a small chain of soba restaurants serving up “Tokyo Soba,” based on the traditions of Edo Soba, which is to say they claim to adhere to tradition while adding something contemporary to the mix, too. 

A visit to the Shibuya Tokyu Honten store for a late lunch found the place practically deserted, and lacking in character, as are most department store restaurants.

The menu offered range of set lunches, reasonable priced, with the soba and tempura set being well proportioned and tasty.





Krung Siam Attic, Jiyugaoka  自由が丘

For some decent Thai food in the backstreets of Sangenjaya, Siam Talart is worth a visit. Shibuya’s Chao Thai has cheap and cheerful covered, and features an extensive menu of well-portioned dishes and a beneficent all-you-can-drink plan. Jingumae’s Kaffir Lime is always a safe (but somewhat less inspiring) bet, too. 

The Krung Siam family of restaurants, however, has the edge. The Jiyugaoka honten is very good, the Roppongi establishment also comes highly recommended and one can only assume that the Kichijoji and Nakameguro iterations offer similarly pleasing dining experiences.

For a decent Thai lunch, in an interesting setting, Krung Siam Attic (also located in Jiyugaoka – on the Green Road, en route to Yamada Denki) is pretty good, too. Hidden away up several flights of narrow stairs, this attic restaurant is really a bar. Indeed, the only seating is along the bar counter itself, perhaps accommodating 11 at a push, and in the 6th floor terrace and sofa room.

The lunch menu features a half-dozen or so sets, each featuring Thai classics – such as ga pao or spicy shrimp noodles – supported by soup infused with lemon and ginger, nama harumaki and iced tea.

Aside from the fresh, delicious food itself, great pleasure can be found in watching the chef cook on a lone gas burner in the far corner behind the bar.



Krung Siam Attic


Kokaiya, Tokiwadai  航海屋、常盤台

Kokaiya ramen are famed for their chashu ramen in particular, and also their “double” soup, which successfully blends chicken and fish stock to create a robust broth in which the equally tasty ramen swim

At some point, several years ago judging by the fading photos, the jolly fat guy and debuya star off the TV visited, along with a whole gaggle of “talent” who followed after him.

There are five Kokaiya stores: Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Asagaya, Numabukuro and Tokiwadai. I did the later, which just happens to be located next door to the ramen shop Men Don Fuku-Iken.

The tonsoba were quite excellent. The tasty soup aside, the ample slices of pork and firm, juicy noodles proved to be deeply satisfying.





Men Don Fuku-iken, Tokiwadai 麺・丼 二・一軒、常盤台

Fukuiken is one of several reasonable ramen shops in Tokiwadai. It’s located on the main shotengai on the south side of station, next door to another ramen shop (the name escapes me) instantly recognizable for the window full of photos of various TV “talent” and other famous visitors. 

A family business, Fukuiken closes at 6pm on Saturdays – plenty of hapless souls were turned away whilst I wolfed down a ¥900 ramen set consisting of a good-sized bowl of shoyu ramen, three paltry little gyoza (which after lunching at Kitchen Tachikichi earlier in the day were laughable) and a nice mound of cha-han.

The gyoza aside, both the fried rice and ramen were good, although after seeing the less generic ramen ordered by other customers I got the feeling that those included in the set were probably the most mundane on offer.



Men Don Fuku-iken


Lemon & Fromage, Kichijōji  レモンアンドフロマージュ、吉祥寺

Italians and Chinese may be of different opinions when it comes to which came first – spaghetti or noodles? – but Lemon & Fromage gleefully combines rāmen with elements of Italian cooking and manages to produce some interesting results. 

The honten, Due Italian, is in Kudan-minami; my dining partners and I visited the recently opened looking Kichijōji iteration. Very clean, “well appointed,” and squarely in the “popular with ladies” category. Indeed, ladies get to swap normal noodles for super healthy (12kcal) konyaku noodles free of charge.

Although smart; with white walls, nice tables and chairs, and a vaguely espresso bar feel to it this is still a rāmen shop, and so the level of service, etc., isn’t really worth mention. As is often the case, you simply select your meal from a ticket vending machine before being seated.

Average prices, smallish servings. The two bowls we tried, the lemon, and the fromage, rāmen were both nicely turned out, with the strangely clear broth creating a light, “healthy” appearance. The lemon variety might have been healthier, the fromage one certainly not. The huge dollop of gooey cheese slowly permeating the dish surely cancelled out any benefit to the waistline that might accrue from the konyaku noodles.

Both were enjoyable, mainly for the novelty factor and clean presentation. The lemon flavour became overpowering eventually, and would benefit from being taken down a notch or two. Conversely, the fromage rāmen were delicious, but would be even better if the taste were stronger. It would certainly benefit from being supplied in bigger portions. However, and despite being adequate, neither the pork nor noodles will appease the indignation of rāmen purists.





Menya Tenhō, Nakaitabashi  麺や天鳳、中板橋

Having been cooped up for several days in an attempt to avoid possibly dangerous levels of radiation that may or may not be permeating the city, I really needed a walk. By which I mean more than the two-minute stroll to the local supermarket with its barren shelves and dreary lines of hoarding, panic-buying obatarians. Rāmen and a look around some bicycle shops (preparation for my flight to hills when the current gaijin exodus turns into a rout) seemed like a fine idea.

Nakaitabashi is just the right distance, and from what I’ve seen has just the right amount of mildly interesting looking noodle sellers. I chanced upon one of the Menya Tenhō chain, which not only enjoys a spot not far from the station, but also sports a rather kawaii noodle-slurping piggy motif. Inside, the usual ticket machine, wooden counter and salt-of-the-earth types manning the steamy stainless steal kitchen and assorted pots and pans. Above the counter a sign suggesting that diners request the preferences, for example firm or soft noodles, strong or thin tasting soups and large or small portions.

Feeling hungry, I worked my way through the tonkotsujōyu zenbuiri rāmen, i.e., the pork and soy sauce broth rāmen with all the works. The works, in this case being four leaves of nori, four good slices of pleasingly lean roast pork, a sprinkling of negi and healthy piles of beansprouts and menma, neatly framed with two halves of boiled egg.

The chef served the bowl with a beaming smile, clearly proud of his creations. All ingredients were delicious, and the veggies nice and crisp (although you have to wonder how regular deliveries of vegetables have been recently). My only niggles were that the first mouthful of menma was somehow sweet tasting, and the egg yolk could have been just a tad firmer. The noodles themselves were firm and slightly wavy. The soup, too, was delicious and the floating globules of fat kept to a minimum.

My dining partner had the tonkotsujōyu (same base broth as above) negi chāshū rāmen, topped with a teetering pile of beansprouts and shredded nori, and lesser amounts of all the ingredients I had enjoyed, with the exception of the egg, and adorned with scattered sesame seeds for good measure. Here too, both quality and quantity were apparently adequate. Certainly not a peep – complaint or otherwise – was heard for a good ten minutes or so.

To fill the corners (as Hobbits are wont to put it), complimentary bowls of rice were served (between 11:30am~3pm). A wholly unnecessary touch. I’d visit again, and you should too if you ever pass that way.