Shimbashi Soba & Sake Bar, CBD

1/05/2014 , , 0 Comments

Shimbashi is a small Japanese restaurant on Liverpool St, just off Bourke St near Spring St. I decided to visit this place after a recommendation from a friend, and found the experience quite enjoyable. Shimbashi specialises in soba (buckwheat noodles that can be eaten chilled or in a hot broth), but also have a good range of entrees to choose from.

The restaurant itself isn't very big- there's an assortment of tables for up to four people, as well as a larger communal table to one side. There's some Japanese art up on the walls, and soft Japanese music playing in the background. The staff are all actually Japanese as well, which always makes the restaurant feel more authentic, in my opinion. They were very friendly, and service was pretty good; we didn't have to wait very long for our dishes, though this may have been because we were the only customers at the time.

As soon as we arrived, we were served a small complimentary bowl of salad each. The salad was light and refreshing, with a good crunch. The homemade sauce/dressing added a good salty touch to the cabbage and salad greens, and had just the right amount of acidity in it. Between three of us, we decided on a cold soba dish each, as well as a plate of Takoyaki ($8 for 6) to share. Two of us ordered the same dish, the Kame Seiro ($19), and my other friend ordered the Seiro Soba ($10). 

Takoyaki is a ball shaped deep fried snack that contains a flour batter and diced octopus, and is served with a savoury sauce and mayonnaise. We all really enjoyed the takoyaki here, as the outer layer was crunchy and very thin, and the filling included actual octopus bits as opposed to just a subtle octopus taste, and there was also potato mash, not just flour, which made for a nice smooth texture that contrasted well with the octopus. The savoury sauce used is similar to a teriyaki sauce but thicker, and together with the mayonnaise, brought out the flavours of the otherwise quite flavourless dish.

The Kame Seiro is a cold soba dish, and was served with sliced duck meat in a warm broth. The duck was quite tender and flavoursome, and not dry at all. The broth also had eggplant, enokitake, sliced cabbage and tofu in it, which balanced out the stronger and heavier duck flavours, and went well with the soba. The broth itself was a bit salty to drink, so there was quite a bit left over at the end. To my surprise, the staff came over with a pot of hot water for us to add to the broth after we had finished the soba, so we could drink it. I thought this was very thoughtful, and it meant you could choose how much water to add to the broth, depending on how salty you wanted the broth.

The Seiro Soba is a simple cold soba dish, and only comes with the special soy sauce for soba and a small dish of chopped spring onions and wasabi. There was enough portion to leave you feeling satiated, but definitely not extremely filling, as there is no side of meat as with most other soba dishes on the menu. For both the seiro soba and kamo soba, we felt the soba itself was a bit tough and hard, and wasn't as chewy/didn't have as much elasticity as expected, given the place is known for their soba. 

I would like to visit this place again to try some of their other soba dishes, perhaps in winter so I can order the sobas that come in the hot broths. 

Shimbashi Soba & Sake Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato | Facebook


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