soba seeds, stone milled soba flour and soba noodle

Soba master Yoshi & Shimbashi

The first Soba restaurant in Southern Hemisphere

In my hands I hold a bowl of soba, I see the goodness of nature represented in its colour. Closing my eyes I find the freshness of green fields and the purity of nature within my heart.


Soba Master Yoshi Shibazaki

Reviews

“WHAT a great little find. I love when this happens. When you stumble upon a place and enter with no expectations, only to find you don’t want to leave.”

“…But inside it serves up the best Japanese noodles I’ve ever had. That’s a big call ( and I have been to Japan) but the soba and udon noodles are extraordinary, not just for the taste but the effort that goes into making each little strand.”

“The name really says it all – Soba, so good.”

Melanie Pilling, Gold Coast Bulletin

“Zen and art of noodle making”

Fiona Donnelly, The Courier Mail

“One of Japan’s 50 accredited noodle masters is missing from his native shores, and Japan’s loss is our gain.”

“At Shimbashi Soba, the menu he has devised with his wife, Keiko, features many variations on the noodle theme, from thick, wheat udon noodles rolling in hot broth and topped with crisp tempura, to the Japanese summer favourite of cold soba noodles with a flavoursome sauce and grated radish.”

Vogue Entertaining Guide

History

Soba Master Yoshi

Yoshi Shibazaki is the owner of Shimbashi noodle restaurant. Yoshi is also an experienced chef and artisan with 35 years of experience in the industry.

He holds the title of "Professional Chef", as approved by the Labour Minister, and "Specialist Noodle Chef", as approved by the Health and Welfare Minister - a rare honour within the soba industry in Japan.

Yoshi’s parents established the first Shimbashi Soba restaurant in 1954, and he grew up deeply involved and fascinated with food and Japanese cuisine.

Over the years he has worked at many famous and long-standing soba restaurants throughout Japan. Continually honing his skills and perfecting his trade, now Yoshi and his father want to share their love for soba with other food lovers.

Yoshi decided to open a restaurant overseas where patrons could taste and enjoy real traditional Japanese soba.

Setback in Canada

Yoshi obtained a Canadian Permanent Resident Visa and moved to Canada in 1987. However it was right after The 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication in Vancouver. Canada was in a business recession, and it seemed difficult to expect enough customers in winter (as it can be extremely cold). He decided it would be difficult to meet his goal in Canada.

Meeting with Australia

At around the same time Yoshi made his foray into Canada, Mr Riichiro Shiratori of Shiratori Flour Mills had succeeded in growing Japanese buckwheat soba in Tasmania. He invited Yoshi and his father for an inspection tour.

After experiencing the good Australian climate and meeting friendly people, Yoshi fell in love with Australia and decided that it was where he had to open his soba restaurant.

Starting in Australia

He applied for an Australian Visa as soon as he got back from the inspection tour and moved to Australia in July 1991. He worked for sushi bar Orizuru in Hobart and studied ingredients, menus, Aussie tastes, and how to make sushi and sashimi.

Yoshi and his family then moved to Sydney, spent a while searching for a location, testing other restaurants, researched the industry, and then finally opened his first soba restaurant in Neutral Bay in March 1994. It was the first soba restaurant in Southern Hemisphere.

The Challenge

Yoshi demonstrated soba making at the front of the restaurant every day, hoping this would appeal to Australian people and to spread the public awareness of soba.

However, there were only Japanese customers at the start - only 10 at most at lunch time. One Australian passed by and asked “What kind of restaurant is this place? There is never an Aussie customer. Not even one!”

This situation continued for six months.

Recognised by Aussies

The situation changed the next year on January 10th. The phone kept ringing all day long, and all of the callers said the restaurant was in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Yoshi bought the paper and found out that the article about his restaurant was half the page and included a few photos of him demonstrating soba making.

The number of Aussie customers has increased since then, and the public awareness on soba has been increased too. Nowadays, he sometimes sees restaurants using buckwheat, and even uses the word “Soba” on their menu.

Spreading Soba Internationally

Yoshi's unwavering passion and commitment towards perfecting the definitive flavour of his soba has been well-received internationally. He has opened Shimbashi Soba restaurants in Singapore, as well as Shibazaki Soba restaurants in Osaka and Kyoto in Japan between 2002 and 2006.

His first foray into the Gold Coast was in 2007, when he opened a restaurant in Robina. The restaurant was relocated in December 2007 to Chevron Island.


Yoshi’s Produced Restaurants

Jugem & Shimbashi - Sydney, Australia

246 Military Road,
Neutral Bay NSW 2089, Australia
Ph:+61 2 9904 3011

Shimbashi Soba Restaurant - Shizuoka, Japan

3-20-32, Ando, Aoi-ku,
Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka-ken 420-0882, Japan
Ph:+81 54 245 3909

Shibazaki Soba Restaurant - Kyoto, Japan

4-190-3, Shimizu, Higashiyama-ku,
Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu 605-0862, Japan
Ph:+81 54 245 3909

Shimbashi Soba - Paragon, Singapore

290 Orchard Road,
#B1-41 Paragon, Singapore 238859
Ph:+65 6735 9882