The reason why I love Udon so much is very simple. There is so much variety in the forms and tastes of Udon, plus even more choices exist with the soup or flavors added to the noodles. Udon come in many shapes and forms all depending on the regional origin. Furthermore this type of Japanese noodles is served chilled in the summer and hot in the winter. For me it seems there is an endless variety for me to taste.
Yesterday I stumbled upon a marvelous building from the Taisho era in Akasaka, which contained an Akita style restaurant serving inaniwa udon (稲庭): Mugendo. Inaniwa Udon is very unique as the noodles are stretched to their form (good explanation with pictures found here) and a lot of manual labor is needed to create its unique taste. Because I am a big fan of black sesame I had to get the black sesame tantan style set.
The presentation, color and smell of the dish was very promising, but I have to say, I was disappointed about the actual taste. While I truly liked the consistency of the Inaniwa udon – much softer than other style udon – I missed the strong hearty taste of black sesame. It was definitely a nice down to earth flavor of the soup, but for a sesame lover like me, the flavor was too bland. Tasting the soup of my hubby’s udon (very basic hot udon) I have to say the taste of his soup seemed much more well-rounded than mine (great umami). I really liked the taste of my husband’s dish, but there was a disadvantage in his set menu. It was a great deal and looked good as you can see below…
but the quality of fish was questionable as my hubby considered it quite chewy. Considering the location rising the price would not be an issue, especially if the quality of the ingredients improves as well.
Bottom line (best possible rate is 5 stars):
For sure we both liked the consistency of the Udon and the taste. While my hubby’s soup was an excellent extract of fish and seaweed, my sesame soup was good, but lacking in content. Sadly the quality of the fish affected the impression of the restaurant. Too bad, especially as udon were great and the building is a jewel.
Overall: 3 stars
Udon by itself: 5 stars
Soup by itself: 2 stars (mine: 1 star, hubby: 3 stars)
Tasted by Sibylle & Kazuo Ito (伊藤シビル&和男)