Kyoto / Matsuba: Nishin soba
The Hungry Italian in Japan tour starts from Kyoto, after having cumulated almost 30 hours delay on the original plan.
What I immediately understood is that touching ground at 8pm on a Sunday does not put you in a favorable spot as the noise of rolling shutters closing is loud at each step.
Many of the restaurants of my list were closed already or about to, but here are a couple of other things I also understood:
Take risks: in some restaurants there is no way to understand what’s happening inside. You can try to look at the number of shoes left at the entrance or spy at the shadows and pieces of fabrics popping out from time to time, but you will never know until you get your foot in.
Look up: restaurants are not always on ground floors but first and second floors can be packed with people, unveiling what the ground floor what’s keeping secret before.
The latter was the case of Matsuba, the perfect landing after 15 hours of plane food, Matsuba is the oldest soba restaurant in Kyoto and creator of the Nishin soba, a soup with buckwheat noodles and Pacific herring, cooked in sweet soy sauce and soba.
Very smoky and rich in its umami essence: light, warm and genuinely flavorful.
Everything I needed.