Chaiya

I vaguely remember visiting this little curry restaurant when I first came to Okayama, and I remember that the food was good and the atmosphere pleasant. Nearly 20 years later and nothing has changed; it’s still one of the best curry restaurants in town.

Chaiya’s signature dishes are Indian-style curry and Indonesian-style fried rice, and chai and lassi drinks. You can also get a wide variety of side dishes, salads, and desserts; the menu is a full three pages. My favorite entree is the Coconut Shrimp Curry.

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Coconut & Shrimp Curry / Mango Lassi

All entrees come with a serving of yellow rice and a small side salad. The salad vegetables are super-fresh lettuce, a slice of tomato, sliced cucumber, parboiled carrot, and saffron-boiled potato; the dressing is a plain yogurt, which I admit sounds strange, but it actually very good in its simplicity.

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Oops! I ate the tomato…

The Indonesian-style Nasi Goreng (friend rice) looks like this:

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This dish is my friend’s favorite; I am in love with the Coconut Shrimp Curry, but I will have to try the Nasi Goreng sometime, because it does look really delicious.

For dessert we had a banana fritter and coconut pies, which we shared. Both were good but we agreed that the banana fritter was better.

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Banana fritter with yogurt

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Coconut pies

The restaurant is located on a backstreet near Okayama University; the interior is natural and cozy, and the wood floors and furniture give it a very welcoming feel. There is a good selection of magazines (in Japanese), which is nice for people who want to relax for a while. It was great to rediscover this place (thanks to my friend!) after so many years.

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In addition to having lunch / coffee ・chai / dessert, etc, Chaiya offers a small selection of teas, breads, and spices for sale.

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Chaiya was recently featured in this local publication, which highlights area restaurants and cafes that have been in business and have been popular / well-loved for more than 30 years (Chaiya has been in business for 36 years, since 1979, in case you were wondering).

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+ What I like about this place: Great food, inviting atmosphere, has a “hidey-hole” feel, loads of free parking, loads of menu selections–this makes me want to come back again and try something different next time.

What I don’t like about this place: no separate areas for smokers & non-smokers, staff could be a bit friendlier.

Homepage: n/a

Facebook: n/a

Address: 岡山市北区津島南1-6-17  /  Okayama-shi, Kita-ku Tsushima Minami 1-6-17

Tel: 086-255-1915

Hours: 9:00am~10:30pm; closed Fridays

Map:

https://goo.gl/maps/pfZyR

Dates visited: September 19, 2013 & February 16, 2015

Yuichiro’s Coffee Roastary

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Fresh.

That is the one word, the only word you need to know about this place.

Technically, this place, like many others, is not a cafe. It is a coffee roastery and tasting room. It’s unusual in that the owner keeps no stock of roasted coffee ready to sell: all coffee is roasted in small batches and upon order only.

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Centerpiece of unroasted coffee beans

On the day that we went, my friends made reservations for us to try several coffees and to learn how to make a good cup of coffee using the cone drip method.

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We were taught how to calculate and measure out the beans, how to grind them, and how to fit the filter into the cone so that no gap remains between the cone and filter. Then we learned how to steam the grounds and pour hot water over them to yield a delicious cup of coffee. The freshness of the ground beans resulted in a heady aroma, and the grounds looked fluffy and light in the paper cone, something which I’d never seen before.

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I usually take my coffee with a bit of cream or milk to dull the acidity, but Yuichiro’s coffee is best enjoyed plain. Pictured above right is a cup of his house blend, Tsubaki. Mild and delicious.

Along with the coffee workshop, my friends ordered a small lunch for us. We were served salad with slices of French bread toast (to be dipped in olive oil), and a wonderful dish of Chicken Cacciatore.

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Chicken Cacciatore: mild flavors of virgin olive oil and red wine

Our meal wrapped up with a sampling of Geisha coffee from Panama. It was served in tall champagne flutes, for a touch of elegance. At 2,800 Yen per cup, and served with handmade fudge and freshly roasted almonds and cashews, it was quite a treat and the perfect end to a meal. It had a rich, fruity taste that paired well with the chocolate and nuts.

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We not only had a great time, but also learned a lot about something we drink everyday but actually don’t know much about. This is a really elegant little place hidden in the backstreets of Tamano. The building is the family’s antique home that has been renovated in a modern, comfortable space, and the owner is friendly, personable, and really knows his stuff. He loves what he does and it shows. I will definitely be going back to learn more.

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Services include sales (including special gift boxes), tastings, and workshops. Everything is by reservation only. Workshops are taught in Japanese.

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Coffees available for roasting include selections from Indonesia, Panama, the U.S.A., Jamaica, Ethiopia, Brazil, El Salvador, Peru, Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.

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Roast almonds & cashews

+ What I liked about this place: Emphasis on superior quality. Excellent product and friendly, excellent service. The beautiful interior is a mix of contemporary with antique accessories, East and West.

– What I didn’t like about this place: Nothing. A bit pricey but absolutely worth it!

Homepage: http://yuichiroscoffee.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YUiCHiROSCOFFEEROASTARY

Address: 〒706-0011  岡山県玉野市宇野4丁目13-11 /  706-0011 Okayama Prefecture, Tamano-shi, Uno 4 Chome 13-11

Tel:  090-5267-2136     Fax: 0863-31-5789

Email: yuichiroscofee@icloud.com

Hours: 12:00 ~ evening. (no set holidays).  Tastings 3x/day: 13:00~, 15:00~, 18:00~ (on days when no workshops are held); please call or email for reservations.

Map: 

 Date visited: February 19, 2015