Call them noodles fit for the royalty because these pure and glossy white udon used to be served only to the Imperial family more than 350 years ago. Unlike buckwheat soba, Inaniwa udon does not involved any cutting but more on kneading and stretching. In fact, the tedious hand-making process can take up to 4 days.
Inaniwa Yosuke imports the noodles directly from the famous Sato Yosuke in Akita, which has direct affiliated restaurants all over Japan. Our Ajikikurabe set ($32) arrived with a bowl of hot udon and cold udon swirled in a generous tangle. The dashi broth of the hot udon has a very light and clean taste but one has to dig in before the udon loses its springy texture.
As for the cold udon, there are two types of tare (dipping sauces), shoyu and sesame, that are both equally delicious. Blended with additional nut paste, the sesame tare is richer and more intense than bottled sauces.
Other worthy dishes to try is the Kakiage udon that is available as a weekday lunch set for $13.90. The silky smooth and delicate qualities of the udon shone through this chilled refreshing dish that was perfect for the local weather. I prefer the kakiage to be served more generously like the usual pancake-shaped fritters in most noodle joints and not in scattering morsels here.
Overall, the food is satisfying and the number of options are more varied that you expect from a udon joint. The Matsuzaka Beef Nabe Rice Set ($34.80) was a hearty pot of sweet sukiyaki broth simmered with enoki, leeks, mushrooms and slithering torokoten (agar) noodles.
There's nothing to dispute about the deliciousness of the beef with the beautiful marbling of fats. Do consider topping up $6 for the Inaniwa Udon because rice alone might not be sufficient to go with the dangerously tasty broth. It's that irresistible.
Come now to 8th January and you can catch the Toshikoshi Udon ($13.80), which refers to the udon eaten on the day before the new year starts. Available either in hot or cold version, this Toshikoshi Udon is a limited time collaboration with Sabar, a grilled mackerel specialty restaurant located in the same Japan Food Town.
I'm already eyeing at the tororo udon, soymilk tsuke udon and even red curry udon for my next visit. Whether you’re hard-core noodle fan or more of a recreational slurper, you will find they slip down a treat.
Happy 2017! 明けましておめでとうございます！
This is an invited tasting
Inaniwa Yosuke @ Japan Food Town
4F Wisma Atria
435 Orchard Rd
Daily 11:00AM - 3:00PM, 5:15PM - 10:00PM