This could be Bangkok's most authentic soba experience.
You’re in good hands at Soba Factory: chef Mizuho Nagao, the hands behind the hand-made noodles, brings 23 years of experience to his craft. As if that weren’t adequate pedigree, he also comes from a family that makes soba for Japan’s royal family.
His restaurant in the Marriott Marquis used to be twice as big, but has given over half its space to Goji Kitchen + Bar. The reduction might not have been a bad change, because dining at Soba Factory now makes you feel like you’re the center of attention.
The staff members are poised, attentive and never invasive. Similarly, the noodles taste like they are made just for you. And in a way, they are. The chef kneads and cuts fresh batches of soba daily, using 80- to 100-percent buckwheat. For the buckwheat purists, the 100-percent variety is an extra B100, but they’re only recommended for cold soba, the noodle being too soft when served hot. Your soba arrives al dente, and you’re recommended to eat it within a few minutes. Served plain (B290 for 80-percent buckwheat), it’s firm but light and fresh.
The hot soba with duck (B445) comes with a spicy, tangy yuzu herb paste to beautifully cut through a savory soup made fatty with oil off the duck skin. In fact, we can’t think of any better soba in Bangkok. If you’re one for side dishes and infinite set-meal combinations, then yes, Azuma is cheaper. But when it comes to quality, Soba Factory is in a league above.
As is often the case with places that do one thing sensationally, the rest kind of feels like an afterthought. The tsukune (chicken meatballs, B75) from the yakitori (grilled chicken) side of the restaurant have a lovely smokiness and are perfectly juicy, but lack any substantial flavor. We don’t recommend the beef tongue (B150) skewers, either, which have an overcooked, cardboard-like texture. But the clue’s in the name: you come to Soba Factory for soba—and on that point, we’re completely sold.
Check out the master in action below:
This review took place in January 2018 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.