We stopped by Echigo Nagaoka Kojimaya CoCoLo during our day trip to Niigata. It was a cute soba restaurant inside the train station. We were all feeling clogged up from overeating so we wanted some buckwheat noodles to clear the gateway 😂.
This was a fermented side dish of vegetables and mackerel. It was moist, cold and tangy, mainly devoured by Mick because the texture reminded me of mushroom 😣
This tamagoyaki was so soft, juicy and delicious. It was a fluffy, rolled omelette with a sweet umami taste. Every bite was drenched with this umami-egg flavour. The texture was incredibly soft and required minimal effort to chew. The cost was ¥890.
Mick ordered a duck tsukemen with hot soba noodles for ¥1290. Tsukemen is a Japanese style of dipping noodles into a separate bowl of soup, like a deconstructed ramen bowl.
This duck broth had a lot of depth of flavour, with the leek and coriander elevating the taste. The broth was clear too so they must have filtered it to achieve this thin consistency. It was really comforting to slurp down in the chilly weather.
The soba noodles were soft and didn't clump together. The only downside was the size of this dish but that's because we're greedy motherfuckers.
We also ordered an assortment of tempura to share. The ebi tempura was really juicy and fresh. It was amazing how the Japanese were able to contain the prawn flavour but still kept the outside batter layer dry and crispy. There was no dripping oils too.
This was battered pork cutlets. Again, it was a great confinement of pork flesh and flavours hidden inside a crispy layer of panko batter. We enjoyed this tonkatsu with Worcestershire sauce and rice.
I ordered a hegi soba dish, one of the prides of the Niigata prefecture. Hegi (or hagu) means 'to strip or peal', and it's the term used for the wooden trays. The soba (with added grounded funori seaweed) are crafted by hand into mouth-sized portions and layered on this tray, thus giving it the name へぎそば. These buckwheat noodles tasted a bit more bouncy and slippery than regular soba noodles but it was a very subtle difference.
I enjoyed dipping my soba noodles into the mentsuyu sauce with some wasabi. It gave the cold noodles a sweet umami flavour with a small kick.
There was a lot of seats in this small restaurant. Staff were attentive with great service, but that's to be expected of Japanese culture. We would definitely give this franchise another go if we come across it again.
Thanks for reading. Happy eating!