I was meeting up with my friends, SS and HM. As SS is a vegetarian, we had to search for a place with some vegetarian options. HM suggested Healthy Soba IKI as she had dined there and thought the soba was good and there were a few vegetarian options for SS as well. HM mentioned that Healthy Soba IKI served fresh buckwheat soba, handmade daily by the Japanese chef using buckwheat flour from Japan.
We decided to lunch there, and I was anticipating delicious handmade buckwheat soba. 😋
Healthy Soba IKI Menu
SS and I reached early and started scanning the menu for vegetarian options. There was only 3 listed – 2 cold and 1 hot soup soba. None of them looked interesting to her. We were discussing when one of Healthy Soba IKI staff advised they had another cold soba option not listed on the menu – Salad Soba with Sesame dressing. SS decided to go with the suggestion as she liked Japanese Sesame dressing.
The best way to taste the buckwheat soba was to eat it as cold soba. I decided to go with the Set Meal, choosing the Kaisen Mini Rice Bowl and Cold Soba. HM decided she’d try the Teriyaki Chicken and Cold Soba Set Meal as she had the Yuzu-Miso Chicken Soba the previous visit.
We put in our orders at the cashier, paid for our meals and were told to take our seats. The soba and set meals would be served to us.. All of us were served with hot tea that came with our orders.
Salad Soba with Sesame Dressing (S$13.00) with additional Egg (S$1.00)
SS’s Salad Soba with the extra order of egg was served first. The salad is made up of cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, edamame, cucumber, corn and tomato placed on top of cold soba. Sesame dressing was drizzled on top, and the additional egg and nori strips were placed on top.
SS said it tasted good, but had too much cabbage and carrots which she didn’t care much for. I think anything with the Sesame dressing would taste good.
Kaisen Mini Rice Bowl and Cold Soba Set Meal (S$15.00)
The Kaisen Mini Rice Bowl and Cold Soba set meal looked quite good. I added the spring onions and wasabi to the dipping sauce and was eager to start with the cold soba. When I picked up the soba, it was all lumped up together. The soba noodles did not separate easily. Very disappointing as I had never had lumpy cold soba before in Japan or in Singapore. I suspected the noodles were cooked earlier and placed in the fridge waiting for an order. That to me was not right.
I tried the soba noodle on its own as I wanted to taste the buckwheat and see how good the handmade soba was. Another disappointment. There was no taste and flavour to the buckwheat soba at all. Totally no buckwheat flavour. The dipping sauce saved the soba. As I was eating it, I began to wonder if it was really made from buckwheat flour. The soba didn’t have any specks of buckwheat. Usually buckwheat noodles have some colour and specks of buckwheat shell.
Next, I tried the Kaisen Mini Rice Bowl. The salmon and tuna was just okay, nothing really outstanding. I liked that the rice had both white and brown rice, and the sauce was quite nice.
Teriyaki Chicken Mini Rice Bowl and Cold Soba Set Meal (S$15.00) with Grated Yam (S$3.00)
HM’s Cold Soba was the same as mine – lumpy and tasteless. She was very surprised the cold soba wasn’t good when she had enjoyed the Yuzu-Miso Chicken Soba the previous visit. Thus, she was as disappointed with the soba as I was. HM added an order of Grated Yam which she added to the cold soba. She said the Grated Yam didn’t taste as nice as those in Japan, so another disappointment. HM lived in Japan, so she knows her soba and grated yam. Luckily the Teriyaki Chicken Mini Rice Bowl was good with large pieces of chicken.
At first look, the price seemed okay especially when there was no GST and no service charge. It wasn’t cheap, nor was it expensive. I thought the Salad Soba was a little expensive considering it was all vegetables. I didn’t think it was worth it when I compared the quality of the soba I ate with the price I paid. Felt a little cheated as the buckwheat soba was tasteless. HM also thought the Grated Yam wasn’t worth the money.
The soba itself didn’t have any flavour. It was rather disappointing when it claimed to be handmade freshly daily with buckwheat flour from Japan. The S$2 buckwheat soba that I bought from Daiso had more flavour and tasted better.
We noticed that beside our table having cold soba, everyone else was having hot soba in soup. Guess there’s a reason why. Personally, I’m unlikely to eat at Healthy Soba IKI again unless a friend wants to go. If I do go, I would try the hot soba and skip the cold soba.