Introducing Matsubara-an Keyaki in Harajuku. It's the sister restaurant to Matsubara-an, the wonderful soba house in the residential backstreets of Kamakura.
Apart from the urban setting, the Harajuku restaurant has much in common with the Kamakura original – from the moment you relinquish your shoes at the door to the relaxing, modern take on traditional Japanese decor.
You sit three floors above Omotesando, looking out at the tops of the keyaki (zelkova) trees that line the busy boulevard below. It's easy to forget you're a one-minute stroll from the shrine’s main gate and the visitors milling around the Harajuku Station.
Matsubara-an’s calling card is its teuchi soba. Walking down the corridor to your table, you can stop and admire a young artisan kneading the gray-brown buckwheat dough, rolling it out thin and then cutting it with precision into perfectly regular strips, each just a couple of millimeters thick.
What makes Matsubara-an so popular – in Harajuku as in Kamakura – is the extensive menu of side dishes to delve into before your noodles arrive. Traditionalists will be happy to find classic sobaya snacks, from sashimi and chilled tofu to itawasa fish cake served with freshly grated wasabi – as well as a good selection of premium sake.
And my map link is here (coming shortly…)