Nene Goose Cafe

Nene Goose Cafe has been around for a while, and even though it’s fairly nearby and has a good reputation, I’d only been once before.  My friend and I decided to go a few weeks ago, just to try something new(ish).

Nene Goose is situated across the road from Kojima lake, which is a repository of water made of water that comes out of the water recycling plant in the Hachihama area of Tamano-shi.

Nene Goose only has a few types of food on their lunch menu, namely a couple of kinds of doria (a hot casserole-type dish), and 2 kinds of sandwiches.  Apparently the menu NEVER changes.  Since it was a hot day, we both opted for the teriyaki chicken sandwich lunch set.  The sandwich came with a chilled pumpkin soup, a salad, and a drink.

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The bread was kind of like a focaccia but softer (because it hadn’t actually been hot-pressed in a sandwich grill).  The teriyaki chicken itself was good; the sandwich also included fresh lettuce, shimeji mushrooms, and a mayo-wasabi dressing that was really nice.  The soup was also really good, and was well chilled.  The salad greens were pretty normal as far as salads in Japan go, but the dressing was out-of-this-world delicious!  It tasted like an oil-vinegar that had been made with sesame oil instead of olive oil, but it also had a bit of spice too, perhaps a Chinese ra-yu chili oil…?  I’d like to try to imitate this dressing at home; we’ll see how that venture works out.  My friend opted for an iced coffee with her meal; I chose an ice tea, which ended up being an iced Early Grey–yum!  Really refreshing and went well with the lunch.

For desserts, we could choose a cheap add-on dessert (which looked like a yogurt parfait), or pay  full price for something from the dessert case.  We opted for the desserts in the dessert case.  My friend chose the pear tiramisu:

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She said it was ok, but that it didn’t actually have any coffee flavoring in it at all.   Hmmm.

I opted for an orange mousse tart:

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Even though my friend warned me that the desserts at Nene Goose were “really bland”, I didn’t find that to be the case.  The mousse tart tasted of fresh oranges in a creme mousse base, with just the right amount of sweetness.  The crust was a little bland, but that didn’t really detract from the dessert as a whole.

The only really bad thing about the meal was the coffee.  Even by my really lax standards, this was not a very good cup of coffee.

The lunch plates were 800 Yen, plus 400 Yen for dessert and 200 Yen for an extra coffee.  Reasonably priced for such a tasty lunch.

I neglected to take photos of the interior, but I like the way the cafe is decorated–simple, contemporary with lots of wood (floors, tables) and aluminum & chrome.  Here’s someone else’s photo of the interior area:

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The dessert case. (photo by anju)

Nene Goose interior by Natsugou

Nice wood tables and contemporary chairs. (photo by natsugou)

There’s never anyone out on the deck, even on nice days.  I’m guessing that the reason might be due to either the smell or the knats that come off of Kojima lake.  Here’s what the deck looks like:

NeNe Goose by konyharu

(photo by konyharu)

+ What I liked about this cafe:  Excellent service, good food, nice atmosphere, nice interior style.

– What I didn’t like about this cafe:  The coffee.  Otherwise not much, but if I were pressed to chose one point, it would be the never-changing menu.  It would be nice to have seasonal item or two, or at least change the menu once a year or so.

Parking available.

Hours: 9:00~19:00 (open until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays); closed on Wednesdays.

Date visited: June 11, 2013

Address: Tamano-shi, Hachihama-cho, Miishi 1607-8 (玉野市八浜町見石1607-8)

* P.S.  For another and different review of this cafe, check out Luc Gougeon’s food blog: http://foodietopography.net/nene-goose-cafe/

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Go Blithely

Go Blithely is a popular cafe in the Tamano area;  it is technically a dog cafe in that the owner has her own dog (a huge Burmese mountain dog named “Heidi”) there, and allows customers to bring their dogs into the cafe as well.

Located on the coast in the Gokan area, the cafe offers a nice view from the garden.  The garden is small but tastefully laid out, with the path going around the cafe so that customers and their dogs can walk around.

The lunch menu consisted of 3 choices; my friend chose the grilled salmon lunch, and I chose the fried chicken plate.  Before the main plate arrived, we were served an appetizer plate, consisting of (left to right) simmered pumpkin, Japanese pickled cucumber, and fried lotus root.

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The appetizers were just one bite each.

We were also served a soup just before the main plate.  The soup was a clear broth with cabbage and mizuna in it.  A pretty basic soup that any housewife can make in her sleep.

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The main dish consisted of fried chicken served with Thai sweet chili sauce, a noodle (somen?) salad with mayonnaise and black pepper, a cabbage and carrot salad, a lettuce/cucumber/tomato salad, and a side of rice.  Everything on the main plate was actually very tasty.

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The dessert that came with the lunch was a strange concoction of yogurt with Japanese mochi in it, along with some really annoying chucks of ice; there was also some mango mousse-like stuff in the cup.  This was topped by fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and (wait for it!) a fried shrimp chip.

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Hmmm.  It wasn’t awful, but it WAS hard to eat–all these different and strange things shoved down into a narrow little cup.  My friend is allergic to mango, and since we didn’t get a choice of desserts, I got to eat her dessert as well.  Lucky me.

+  What I liked about this cafe:  The service was nice; I like the fact that customers can bring their dogs; I like the owner’s dog (great personality!), the food was presented well and tasted good; the salads were really fresh; the location is great; the garden is cute and well-maintained.

–  What  I didn’t like about this cafe: Strange combinations–is the menu Western or Japanese?  The appetizers were Japanese, but the main dishes were Western.  The interior is a bit cluttered looking (the owner sells small interior items as well, but they are poorly displayed and out of season.)

Lunch was 1,000 Yen and included the appetizers, main plate, soup, rice, dessert, and a drink (coffee, tea, or juice).  I found this to be a reasonable price for the meal.

Address: 〒706-0315 Tamano-shi Gokan1-141 (玉野市後閑1-141)

Hours: Lunch 11:00~14:00 / Teatime 14:00~  Closed on Mondays

Parking available

(Date visited: June 4, 2013) ➡ If I’d known I’d be starting a cafe review blog when I visited, I would have taken photos of the garden and the main seating area.  Perhaps next time….