Kamaage udon – hot udon straight from the cooking pot and accompanied by a dipping sauce(cold in this case and with a raw egg). The udon is homemade – very chewy and nice. 350yen is so cheap! This place is on the roof of Ikebukuro Seibu department store. I knew about the roof floor self-service eateries but never thought of trying. Then I saw a gourmet program on TV introducing this udon shop and a search in the internet showed that it is actually mentioned in a few udon-related web sites, so I went to try on the next day. But as I should have known, everybody saw that program….I just couldn’t be bothered to wait. One season later, either the media influence has faded or it is just too cold to eat outside, no queue! ^^;;
Nagoya miso nikomi(stew) udon – consisting of thick, hard, chewy, handmade udon noodles served in boiling hot miso sauce. Not bad though the portion of the udon was small. Left with so much of the thick miso soup that I was very tempted to order rice to put into the soup…but I resisted. There were chicken, mochi, dried tofu etc. in it as well.
Bukkake udon with vegetable tempura and squid roe tempura. Love the hand-made udon, sticky and chewy. Vegetable tempura is nice too but the squid roe is bitter and dry. Very slow on the delivery, I ordered a drink but they forgot, and didn’t give me water until I begged them, but they were nice enough to let me, being alone, take up a table for 2 instead of a counter seat surrounded by salarymen. And it is very cheap and location very convenient.
硯家南池袋店(Suzuriya Minami Ikebukuro-ten)
Pork udon(hot). Udon is not bad though the pork meat is hard. For a simple bowl of udon, I did have to wait for a very long time even though the restaurant was pretty empty. This udon place has two restaurants which are only a few minutes walk from each other.
硯家 本店(Suzuriya Honten)
Honten has better seating and better service. Had egg roll and tempura zaru udon. The egg roll and the udon are so-so, but the tempura is not bad – huge slices of aubergine, pumpkin, shishitou(small green pepper), prawn and bell pepper, all freshly fried. Very thick flour coating but it is crispy. 840yen for a tempura udon is very cheap too.
Beef bukkake udon and takikomi rice, 900yen. I thought bukkake udon usually has only a bit of sweet soya sauce to mix with the udon, but this one basically is soup udon, and since I ordered cold version, the soup was cold….I was chilled to the bones eating it. And the beef was too hard and tasteless and I left most of it. The noodles itself was okay though. And the portion is massive. I guess I ordered the wrong thing for the weather. The takikomi rice was good.
Bukkake udon with Maitake mushroom tempura. Maitake mushroom and shimeji mushroom rice. Although udon, unlike soba, is not seasonal and is pretty much the same taste any time of the year, the choices of tempura are definitely more tempting in autumn!
Radish and deep-fried tofu. Kakiage – tempura with onion and carrot. Bukkake udon – udon with various toppings on top. This one just has ginger and spring onion, and sweet soy sauce. This place is self-service, very cheap, and the quality is good.
Half udon half soba, with tempura. Usually tempura soba or udon is quite expensive but this place is cheap, yet the quaity is high. Both the soba and udon have very strong texture, a lot of chewing needed but I love that. The tempura is nice too. I waited for about 20 minutes, but it is written on the menu that everything is made fresh upon order so it will take a while. You can choose strong or light tsuyu(the soy sauce you dip the soba and udon into), and I chose the strong one and it turned out a bit too strong for me, the light one would have been better. I like this place though!