[Tokyo] Tsuta 蔦 Japanese Soba Noodles in Tokyo is the first ever ramen joint to get a Michelin star, which is an indication of its possibly exceptional quality. (Read: 10 Must-Try Ramen & Tsukemen at Tokyo)
(Click PLAY for video highlights of Tsuta Tokyo.)
However, the name and entire queuing process can be confusing for 1st timers. So if you intend to find some directions, I will try my best to make it clearer for you here.
First thing’s first, while Tsuta is named a “soba” shop, it won a Michelin for its “ramen”.
Only 150 bowls of ramen are served daily – priced at ¥1,000 to ¥1,500 (SGD$13 to SGD$20) a bowl.
The queue system is not quite the same as the other ramen shops. Starting from Step 1…
Enthusiastic diners make their way to get a queue ticket from as early as 7am. Depending on whether it is a peak period, queue tickets can get distributed finished anything from early morning to mid-noon. (I got a 11am slot when I went at 7:30am.)
Otherwise, you can check for the queue status on their Twitter page @number_ticket (Tweets are in Japanese though, but you can do a google translate.)
Make your way to Sugamo Station on the JR Tamanote line. Get out of the South exit, then turn left. Tsuta will be a 3 to 5 minutes walk away. (Yeah, not that far!)
The shop only opens at 11am. Therefore, queue tickets have allocated slots of 11:00am (white), 12:00pm (light blue), 1:00pm (blue), 2:00pm (pink), 3:00pm (green), and 4:00pm (yellow).
Prepare ¥1,000 CASH per ticket as a deposit. The money will be returned to you when you come back.
Return to queue by the side of the restaurant at the allocated time. Tip: Even if your ticket says 12:00pm, it helps by coming slightly earlier, and not linger around.
Once you are called to enter the shop, prepare cash/coins as you order the ramen via a vending machine.
When you are finally in… the 9-seater ramen eatery serves soba in ramen style (¥1000 for its most basic bowl, ¥1500 for the most popular shoyu bowl), known for its soy based broth where the soy is aged for 2 years.
The noodles are made with four types of whole wheat flour, chashu served with black truffle sauce, and broth an umami chicken-seafood blend, along with rock salt, red wine and rosemary infusions.
The base of the soy broth is made with three types of shoyu. Two of the shoyu are formulated in-house.
Chef Onishi has personally visited a shoyu brewer in Wakayama Prefecture and requested for it to brew the third soy sauce to his specifications. This shoyu is made with whole soy beans that are matured for two years.
I went straight for the Wanton Ajitama Shoyu Soba (¥1,500) which contained wonton, seasoned egg, roast pork, braised pork, bamboo shoots, Japanese leek and black truffle sauce.
Be conservative in your photo-taking, and just go straight to consume.
I was in bliss when I had that first bite and sip of the broth, and understood possibly why the Michelin inspectors would confer such honours to the humble noodle shop.
The broth itself had a clean yet layered taste, intricate and delicate, unlike other rich heavy ramen broths (which excite in a different way). It was light enough, and so won’t leave queasy feeling even if you intend to finish the bowl.
The noodle texture was unlike what I ever had before, and I would best describe it as a cross between ramen and soba – firm with softness, chewy with bite.
Almost every ingredient worked, except the wanton which had never-ending skin. With that said, the skin was silky smooth though.
The question ALL my friends had was, ”Better than Singapore’s Tsuta or not?”
My casual and candid reply would be, ”About 10 times better.”
Other items on the menu include Sio Soba (¥1000 – ¥1500), Tsukemen, Rice Bowls and side dishes. I say stick to its star ramen dish, and hopefully you won’t leave disappointed.
1-14-1 Sugamo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo (5 min walk from Sugamo Station)
東京都豊島区巣鴨1-14-1 Plateau-Saka 1F
Opening Hours: 11am – 4pm (Closed Wed)
Google Maps – Tsuta
9 Scotts Road, #01-01/02/03, Pacific Plaza, Singapore 228 210