Very cheap eats: Shimbashi: soba noodles are so good

The best and best value food in Surfers Paradise has long been the tiny Korean and Japanese joints hidden in its low-rent 1970s shopping malls. But it is also worth escaping the main tourist drags for Chevron Island where soba Master Yoshinory Shibazaki & his wife Keiko are bringing Japanese food on the Gold Coast to a new level.

The restaurant Shimbashi Soba on Chevron is a local manifestation of the well-known and reviewed (even by those who really know Japanese food) Jugemu & Shimbasi in Neutral Bay.The first clue that this restaurant, which has been opened for just a year, may be something special is the grinder and the stone bench top in the window. Daily flour is ground from Tasmanian organic buckwheat and soba noodles are made in the traditional manner.The second clue that this place is good is the number of Japanese eating there.The menu advertising the health-giving properties of the soba noodle, the fact that it lowers blood pressure, strengthens capilliaries, reduces cholesterol, has high vitamin C, reduces fat in the liver and slows ageing of the brain.The food is also an absolute bargain, possible one of the best cheap eats you’ll find in Australia.In the summer humidity of southern Queensland we opted for a can of cold tea each – green and oolong. There is Sapporo on tap and a small list of good saki and sochu by the glass and bottle.While soba and udon are the speciality there also are other dishes. We started with six room temperature pieces of salmon sushimi ($12) and two pieces of tempura Crystal Bay prawn ($6) that are almost a match to Tempura Hajime in Melbourne.A huge $13 bowl of Oroshi – cold soba with grated radish and wakame – that Jak couldn’t finish. I was warned that my Taromi ($15) contained fermented soy beans with a strong flavour. It was delicate and with a strange but enticing sticky texture, thin sticky slices of okra and cold soba.It also serves many dishes on the traditional zaru, a sieve-like bamboo tray.This is a place where you can easily eat well for under $20 and worth the diversion, even if its a two hour flight to Queensland. The most annoying thing of all is that I discovered this place only a few days before I leave for India.

I’m double posting this on my personal blog Tomato.