Monday, April 20, 2009

Soba soba

When M2 offered us the opportunity to try fresh made soba at a famous shop, we jumped at the chance. Just down the road from us.. well down the road, round a bend or two and along a bit more, is Rakuichi Soba. It's out the back of Annupuri just off the main road, apparently it has a bit of a following and you could wait up for up to two hours for a seat. Winter is their slow season so we're hoping we'll be ok. The approach to the restaurant is so picturesque, a narrow wooden foot bridge leading to the building, all dusted with snow it's very fairy tale.


Once in the door we see that a wait will still be in order as all of the stools along the small counter are full. Luckily we wait a brief ten minutes before a space is cleared and we're in.


We are very thankful that M2 speaks Japanese or we would have been limited to hot or cold soba, we would have had no idea of the special duck soba or the .....well actually that's as far as we got, DUCK SOBA??? Two please.


Once you have your order in that's when the magic happens, owner and soba master Tatsuru makes the noodle dough to order for each order. First mixing the dough, then deftly pressing and rolling before finally hand cutting with an impressive noodle knife. You can tell Tatsuru has been doing this for a few years when he has finished the process he has enough noodles for our order exactly. The noodles are then taken out to the back for blanching and plating.




While waiting for the noodles we order plates of vegetable tempura to get us started. Little plates of eggplant, beans, peppers, okra and mushrooms all crispy coated, mmmmm I love tempura.


The noodles arrive shortly after, my cold duck noodles have the soba off to the side of the duck soup, a small plate of tempura yam next to them, Kat had the duck as well, but the hot version so the noodles, soup and tempura are already mixed.


The soup is rich and the duck flavorful, the noodles are, in my very limited knowledge of soba, the best I've ever had, the little tempura yam thingies tasty.


Coming here is not only a great meal but a great experience. I know we want to come back, but which is better, waiting two hours for a seat if we come in summer or waiting all winter to eat here again.......dilemma dilemma.

Soba Restaurant Rakuichi
Buckwheat Annupri
048-1511 431, Niseko, Niseko-cho
TEL : 0136-58-3170
Hours : 11:00~15:00、17:00~(Reservation required)
Holiday : Thur.


Tyson said...

Dunno if anyone's here, but I'll ask anyway -- what's the easiest way to get to Rakuichi?
I'm skiing Niseko in a couple of weeks and we'd be very very keen to check this place out. Can you get there from the Annapuri slopes (e.g. bus, walk?!) or do you have to make a special trip?

I'd also be concerned about rocking up wearing ski clothes and going shoosh shoosh around the place - maybe should do it on a rest day.
Any help is appreciated, really want to check this place out!!!

Kat and Kim said...

Hello Tyson,

Rakuichi is definitely a must on your visit to Niseko! They are closed on Thursdays...

They are fine with you arriving in your ski gear, but you could also choose to do it on a rest day. You could walk there from the Annupuri ski hill, just heading down the hill. I have just updated our Big Food Big World map so search for it on google. After a big soba lunch, you may wish to get a taxi back to the village, or take the Niseko united shuttle.

If you do it on a rest day, Yugokorotei onsen is just a few minutes walk away, turning right onto route 66 which is worth a visit for a traditional hot spring in the area.

When you get to Rakuichi, they are pretty helpful with the menu... But basically there is hot or cold soba, with or without duck. And make sure you order the vegetable tempura, the daily selection of local Hokkaido vegetables is the best around!

Good luck with the trip to Niseko, if there is anything else we can help with, just let us know;)

Kat and Kim