Yudetaro is yet another one of the soba noodle chains that proliferate through Tokyo. I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing either – soba noodles are the ultimate cheapo fallback when you’re in a hurry, you want something cheap and you don’t want it to be horribly unhealthy.

Photo by Gregory Lane

Yudetaro is one of the more established chains, so their stores tend to be slightly tired looking. Despite the upmarket locale of the store I visited (the Aoyama 1-Chome branch), the interior was basic and utilitarian with a definite ‘salary man space’ feel to it. Ceiling lights were of the round opaque cover over a flickering flourescent tube variety that is popular in Japanese domestic kitchens. Anyway, people who come to places like Yudetaro are in a hurry – they don’t linger for the relaxing atmosphere.

Photo by Gregory Lane

As is common with soba noodle chain stores, ordering happens at a machine near the entrance. While other shops have numbers next to their plastic food displays or even English, there is no such accommodation here – all the options are written in Japanese characters only. I suspect this is an older store though, so you might find more friendly machines at other branches.

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I went for the Tanuki Soba for 380yen. The noodles are a light, pale colour (like Komoro Soba) with a piece of sweet Inari tofu on top, with agedama, wakame seaweed and spring onions sprinkled on top.

The portion size was very generous, the noodles were slightly on the soft side but probably because I left them too long in the broth while taking notes and photographs of my food like some kind of instagram junkie.

Photo by Gregory Lane

Despite the dour interior, this particular store has a unique feature worth coming here for – outdoor seating in a terrace area. So if you want to enjoy your meal at a sub-salariman pace and take in some of the local flora and fauna on a warm day, this is a great place to stop by.

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