Following up on my Japan Times column on Friday...
The neighbourhood is Nezu, an area of narrow alleys still imprinted with the memory of the way things were before Tokyo became a modern megalopolis. From the main thoroughfare, Shinobazu-dori, you just take a couple of turns into the low-rise residential backstreets and you reach the stately two-story building that houses Kamachiku.
A venerable red-brick kura storehouse, preserved, refurbished and converted with style and contemporary sensitivity.
The architect Kengo Kuma oversaw the conversion, and he's done a beautiful job. The external brickwork may look Western, but inside feels entirely Japanese.
You remove your shoes, then shuffle across the polished floor and sit on thin zabuton cushions at low tables, all fitted with horigotatsu leg wells.
Sit back, sip your drink and let your gaze wander up through the massive crisscrossed ceiling timbers to the gables high above...
The inscription reads: "Erected in the 6th month of the 43rd year of Meiji (1910)"
The noodles are prepared fresh each day, rolled out and cut by hand, and brought to the table with absolutely no nonsense or pretension. That's the way they do it in Osaka, the udon heartland, where Kamachiku has its original branch.
There's only one choice to make: zaru, cold udon with a cold dipping sauce...
... or kama-age, noodles served in hot water, with a piping-hot dip.
Whichever, they are served with the same condiments: a generous saucer of finely chopped negi scallions; grated ginger; a small cruet of shichimi-togarashi (seven spice); and a large bowl of age-dama, small rice-krispie-size croutons of tempura batter.
You replenish your hot dipping sauce from a handsome pottery flask that is set on the table in front of you.
Kamachiku has several other strings to its bow, starting with what it calls its menzenshu ("pre-noodle sake") selection. The refrigerator is crammed with isshobin magnums – yet another indication that this is a noodle shop of some distinction.
There is a substantial menu of side dishes to nibble on while waiting for your noodles. Some are simple, such as onsen tamago, goma-dofu, ohitashi, or oshinko pickles. A summer favourite is morokyu, crisp fresh cucumber served with savoury moromi miso.
Other dishes are rather more substantial, including seafood or vegetable tempura – or even sukiyaki-style beef.
You will want to reserve your place at Kamachiku: the chances of walking in off the street and finding a table free are very slim. At weekends, though, reservations are not taken and a queue forms outside the door well ahead of opening time.
And the Kamachiku website has some great photos of what the storehouse looked like before the restoration process started...