As we were walking around the Shirokane area of Tokyo, we found an old house just off a main street that had been turned into a restaurant named Sakura Sakura. The restaurant specializes in Kyoto-style dishes serving "yuba udon noodle" during lunch hours and kaiseki for dinner. It was just after 1pm on Sunday, and since both of us love and cannot get enough of yuba in any form, we immediately jumped at the opportunity.
We sat at a corner table with a space heater conveniently situated at our feet to keep our seat warm. The menu was a "build-your-own" style with a choice of noodles served either hot or cold, in soup or with dipping sauce. Plus, it also offered their special dish of noodles in sesame soup. There was also a long list of toppings to choose from, about 15 or so, ranging from scallion to tempura to slices of duck. Each order was accompanied by a bowl of mushroom rice and Japanese pickles.
Hiroko ordered the noodle in soup with scallions. Rick ordered the special noodles in sesame soup with scallion. Made from a mixture of yuba and flour, the noodles were thinner and not as springy as sanuki udon. They were delicate and soft and the soup broth was rich and aromatic...ub a word (Hiroko's) "beautiful." With hints of bonito and kelp flavors, the soup was light on salt and shoyu but delivered an abundance of dashi flavor. This "light flavored" soup is what Hiroko calls "Kansai style" (versus Tokyo or Kanto style which relies more heavily on shoyu).
Not to be overlooked, their rice was delicate and tasty as well. We devoured our lunch and then sat and savored it for a while longer over a nice cup of green tea. Through our visual sense, we had discovered a beautiful old house which yielded an equally beautiful sensory experience for our tastebuds, a bowl of yuba udon.
5-15-10 Shirokanedai Minato-ku Tokyo