This is the Yasai Ten Seirou lunch set from a famous soba shop in Kyoto called Owariya. It consists of cold soba noodles with a soy sauce based dipping sauce, vegetable tempura (carrot, eggplant, daikon, okra, mushroom, root vegetables), and a small dish of green onions, grated daikon and wasabi.
Owariya is an almost 600 year old soba shop that I discovered through the recommendation of Kyoto Foodie. The shop is most well known for its Hourai Soba lunch set (confirmed after seeing 70% of people eating this each time I went) and their confectionary sweets such as soba rice cakes with sweet red bean inside. A complimentary rice cake is usually served after the meal, and I have to say they’re delicate, light, and delectable palette cleansers.
As for the main dish, I’ve eaten plenty of soba in my day, enough to rid me of the idea that no one bowl of soba could be better than another. Well, Owariya quickly put me in my place. As a whole, the meal is simple, elegant, filling, and appealing to the eye. What’s more, it is so consistently good. Over a month-long period, I visited on three separate occasions, different days of the week and different times of day. Each time, it tasted as fresh as the last, in the best way possible. The soba noodles are soft but not sticky, and the tempura is just crispy enough to add a pleasant texture to the soft boiled vegetables. It’s a bold statement, but this lunch set is the best meal I’ve eaten in Japan so far.
Check out Owariya’s website for more details about the shop’s history and take a look at the menu.