Saturday, January 27, 2018


Location: Nanbanchaya
Southern Barbarian Tea Shop ->

Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch
Price: 970 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes:  Dry curry rice set, hand poured coffee
English Menu: Only Drinks
Smoking: Yes

Nanbanchaya is a cafe located in the Mikasa Shopping Mall, a small alley like covered area on Blue Street.  I've walked past it a million times, each time noting the little sign indicating a few food items, but honestly I just haven't cared enough to bother as I had a pretty good idea what I was in for.  I figured it was one of these small little cafes with sandwiches and omurice and not much else to recommend it.  I was pleasantly surprised when I made the trip up the tiny stairs to find a fairly large L-shaped space, filled to the brim with an odd collection of JSDF/Anime girl mashup swag, and a kind of swanky vibe characteristic of an old kissaten (old school cafe).  It was also pretty full and I snagged one of the few remaining tables.

Dry Curry rice set

The food options weren't much better than I thought, with typical rice dishes (no omurice though!), sandwiches and spaghetti on the menu.  She offered me an English menu, but it was only drinks, and I was able to read the mostly katakana food menu just fine.  Since it was a cafe after all, I ordered a hand poured coffee as well, though I usually don't drink coffee so late in the day.  Eventually I decided to order the dry curry rice set, which came with a sunny-side up egg (new Japanese vocab for the day:  medamayaki or 目玉焼き - the kanji mean eye/egg/cooked - cute!), something I always love on my rice.

Unfortunately, my main complaint with this place is the time it takes to get your food.  I understand it's pretty much run be one lady, but expectations in Japan are pretty high for speed of service and I must have waited about 30 minutes.  No worries, I had stuff to keep me occupied, but it's good to know going in that this is a slow going place.  I should have taken a cue from the person next to me who was reading the paper with no food for about 15 minutes after I got there.

Well it was nicer than I thought it would be, and is probably the closest old school kissaten to us.  However Tsuki Cafe is closer, funkier, and the food is superior, so we'll probably stick with that one in the future.

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