Matsunomi 松の實 at Sapporo Hokkaido, which means “pine nuts” in Japanese and specialises in buckwheat soba noodles, is awarded the Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide and it’s well deserved. But be warned, while we like the food very much, we read Japanese reviewers on Japanese review sites and the restaurant only receives an aggregate score of 3.5 over 5. This is the exact opposite of the experience we had at Tsunezushi, also Bib Gourmand awardee, which we believe is only average but Japanese reviewers rate it highly.
The photo above shows an empty Matsunomi but that’s because we went in early evening at about 5.30pm. We read that it gets crowded for lunch. When we entered, an elderly lady in kimono greeted us.
The menu is completely in Japanese, making ordering difficult. The food here isn’t expensive, about ¥1000 for a bowl of soba with some sides. But with our translation app, we communicated with the elderly lady who recommended the duck soba, saying that it is their speciality.
The duck soba is indeed excellent. The smoked duck is tender and not too salty. Japanese leeks are amazing; usually leeks are sharp and pungent, which many people do not like, but here the leeks are sweet and only mildly pungent to undercut the oiliness of duck. The soup, unlike other soba broth, is robust and tinged with yuzu just to counter any heaviness (but to us there isn’t any heaviness).
We also ordered the tempura set. The tempura is nice because the ingredients are extremely fresh. They really didn’t do anything fancy to the tempura, and nothing fancy needed to be done to fresh ingredients.
I don’t really like buckwheat noodles with a musky taste, and unfortunately, it is so here. But the soup has balanced the musky taste. It is different from the duck soba soup; there is a fragrance of soy sauce, very light but also aromatic. The soup is so delicious that I slurped it all and showed it to the obasan server and she laughed and said thank you.
On the whole, this is a very lovely place. The food is excellent and relatively affordable. I lost the receipt but I think we paid about ¥2000 for two persons. My only grouse is that the portions are petite, so after a bowl of soba, I felt like I could still eat something else. But that said, we were extremely satisfied with the hot meal on a cold day. And I’m sure, in summer, the cold soba would be equally delicious.
Matsunomi 松の實 Iwakura Building 1F, Minami 1 Jo Nishi 7-16-2, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0061tel: +81-11-252-6615M-F 11.30pm-2.30pm, 5pm-9pm; Sat 11.30pm-2.30pm, Closed Sun
You may be interested in…
–Michelin Bib Gourmand Ramen in Hokkaido: Ippontei 一本亭 at Lake Toya and Ramen Shingetsu ラーメン信月 at Sapporo
–Four Fish Markets in Southern Hokkaido: Hakodate, Otaru, and Sapporo
–Otaru Rakuten らく天: Fantastic Izakaya with a Michelin Bib Gourmand
–Asari しゃぶしゃぶあさり, Hakodate Hokkaido: Sukiyaki Chef-Owner Says, “I Want to Open a Shop in Singapore!”
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.