The mt cafe was a limited time, pop-up cafe that I found out about on a Facebook page for tourism in our area. I saw the notice well after the term had started, but knew I wanted to go. I asked my business partner to go with me, and he said yes, but the final days were approaching and he wasn’t around. So I decided to ask a girlfriend who lives in the area to go, only to find out that she was spending the weekend out of town. I asked my son to go; he is usually up for doing something, but he was tired from working late the night before. So I ended up going by myself. This was a good thing and I’ll tell you why in a bit.
The weather had been horrible up until Sunday–torrential rains that were causing massive flooding and landslides throughout western Japan. There were only 2 days left until the cafe would close, and I was really debating on whether to even go or not, because the location is along some bluffs that overlook the Seto Inland Sea; I would have to drive though low mountains to get there, and I was afraid that small landslides or falling rocks might be blocking the road. But, on Sunday morning, the rains stopped and the sky was cloudy with big patches of blue, and there was sunlight!–something we hadn’t seen in a few days. So, off I went….
So, the building is usually an abandoned rest house on top of the Ojigadake Bluffs, which straddle Tamano City and Kurashiki City in southern Okayama Prefecture. The structure is usually bland, uninteresting ferroconcrete, but the Kamoi Company in Kojima, which is famous for making some of the cutest washi masking tape, covered the entire building inside and out. I was expecting some sort of masking tape but actually it was printed vinyl strips. The menu was planned and executed by Miyake Shoten, a very well-known cafe in Kurashiki City.
Even the stairs were covered in designed vinyl and looked inviting. I went up.
Here is photo of the observation deck on top of the building used for PR on the Facebook page (photo used without permission):
And here is what is actually looked like:
Sorry to show my face, and it’s hard to tell from this silly photo, but the deck is indeed NOT covered in that cute vinyl. It turns out that it blew off in the typhoon that passed by a few days ago 😥
Here is the fantastic view from the top, which wasn’t affected by the lack of cute vinyl:
There were a few people on “jet skis” (a.k.a, personal water craft) in the bay below; you can see them leaving trails in the water. I didn’t realize how high up I was until I noticed how small their cars looked in the parking lot! There even a few paragliders out, since the weather was decent. This bluff is a very popular spot for paragliders.
Ok, so, into the cafe. I was kind of dreading it because I saw so many people inside. Again, here is the PR photo (used without permission):
And here’s what it really looked like. Not too far off, except that I couldn’t really see the pattern in full because there were SO MANY PEOPLE.
The actual cafe part was jammed back into a corner and had only about 5 small counter seats. The main space was used for selling masking tape. It seemed like most of the tables were occupied by families with small children. So many small children, and so many crying babies. As a parent myself, I still don’t understand why people want to take babies to cafe and then let them cry; it can’t be fun for the parents and trust me, it’s not fun for the rest of us either.
So, I said I was glad that I ended up going alone, and this is why–too many people packed into a narrow counter area. It wasn’t the sort of cafe that you can sit in leisurely and enjoy a nice conversation.
The menu was simple but nice. In addition to basic drinks, this is what was on offer:
Summer vegetable curry, Okayama peach shaved ice, and a special Okayama peach parfait. Naturally, I went for the parfait. I even got a free roll of specially-themed masking tape with my order, yay. There were so many ingredients in the parfait that there was even a diagram at the order counter.
Starting at the bottom, the parfait was made up of crushed salted cookies (so yummy!), raspberry jam, butterfly pea and lemongrass jelly, pistachio gelato, peach compote, more crushed salted cookies, more butterfly pea and lemongrass jelly, peach ice cream, mascapone and honey mousse, whipped cream, more peach compote, and then topped with passion fruit sauce, a sprig of mint, a blueberry and some crushed raspberries, and a mini macaron. It was simply fabulous.
It tasted just as great as it looked. I do like parfaits, and while this one was fussy and had a lot in it, it was beautifully presented and used high quality ingredients. No corn flakes or canned fruit here, thank goodness. I love the glass it was served it too–it suited the parfait very well.
The woman next to me, who was also alone, ordered the shaved ice; I didn’t really want to start up a conversation with her, so I just snapped a quick photo of her ice while she was fiddling with something. Sorry, lady….
For only 500 yen, I feel like this was a steal because another place in town sells the same thing for a lot more.
After enjoying my parfait, I went over to see what the sales area had to offer. There were several kinds of limited edition masking tape on sale, and the designs were all super cute. They also had some plain colored tape. I was tempted to buy some of the new designs, but I already have *a lot* of masking tape and really didn’t need any more. I decided to just enjoy the selection with my eyes.
The view was so fantastic, and actually the space inside was quite large. The building even had a proper kitchen. It made me wonder why there isn’t a cafe here all the time….
+Things I liked about this cafe: the temporary / pop-up aspect made it into a event which was fun, nice concept for a local pop-up (2 local businesses working together), limited but really well done menu–everything was “real” (not instant or frozen) and attractively presented, fabulous view, loads of free parking
_ What I didn’t like about this cafe: too many people (not the cafe’s fault, and I *did* go on the last Sunday possible so that’s on me), service was somewhat rude (I didn’t mention it in the article but the clerk automatically assumed that I don’t speak Japanese *even though* I ordered in fluent Japanese; she didn’t give me information that I heard her giving other customers. This sort of thing really rubs me the wrong way)
I won’t give business details as I usually do because this was a pop-up cafe that has already finished.
Date visited: August 15, 2021