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

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Tereya Cafe

If you like antiques, great food, and arts & crafts, Tereya Cafe is the place for you. Located on the main road in Ushimado, Okayama, this cafe is exactly the kind of place I’d choose to open if I ever get my own cafe.

Tereya Cafe is operated by American-born Teresa Stockwell, and her Japanese husband.  The building is actually an antique Japanese house; the house has not been renoved, so it has a very homey, warm feel to it.

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The menu features curry and baked desserts.

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Note, the curry is really great handmade curry (not Japanese curry, but more authentic Thai-style curry).  Being a freak (yes, that’s right) for anything coconut, I opted for the Coconut Curry despite Teresa’s having warned me that it is quite spicy.

DSC_4248The portions were large; the curry was served accompanied with a fragrant, saffron rice. And yes, it was spicy. As the day was really chilly, spicy curry really hit the spot. My colleagues order the vegetable curry, which was probably considerably less spicy.

The curry was also served with a side salad.

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I confess, this looks like “just a salad”. But, the vegetables were super-fresh; the tomato was excellently sweet despite it currently being winter; and the potato salad was perfect. The whole thing was drizzled in olive oil with a sprinkling of sea salt–so very Ushimado.

After our meal, we couldn’t resist dessert–after all, it was Teresa’s baked goods that greeted us when we first arrived:

DSC_4254It’s hard to see from my poorly-taken photograph, but an array of handmade cakes and pies are lined up on the kitchen counter. The only problem was deciding what to get, because frankly, everything looked equally delicious.

In the end, I got the Apple Cinnamon cake:

DSC_4249Yum. Soft cake filled with chunks of cinnamoned apple, and topped with a light sugar glaze and sliced almonds.

My friend Judith got the Apple Pie with a dollop of whipped cream on the side:

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You just can’t go wrong with good ol’ apple pie.

Our colleague Kaz got the Ushimado Honey Cake:

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Even though the honey cake looks the plainest, it was my favorite (yes, we traded bites!). It had an earthly, whole-grain goodness that the honey accented nicely.

Teresa and her husband also display and sell an array of arts & crafts in their cafe, including handmade greeting cards and postcards, accessories, hand-blown glass, and pottery.  Additionally, they also host live music performances. For more information / updates on events, check out the Tereya Cafe blog and /or Facebook page (links below).

If you’re driving through Ushimado and need a great meal or just a place to relax, look for the Tereya Cafe signboard.

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Next time I visit, I’ll be sure to a) bring more money to buy crafts; and b) plan to spend more time there!

+ What I liked about this cafe:  Great food and desserts; large portions; eclectic mix of arts, crafts, antique / vintage Japanese and Western furniture make for a great atmosphere.

What I didn’t like about this cafe:  Nothing, absolutely nothing. My only regrets are that we didn’t have more time to enjoy coffee and conversation with the proprietors and that I didn’t bring more money to buy craft items.

Blog link: http://tere-ya.at.webry.info/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tereyacafe

Address:  〒701-4302  岡山県瀬戸内市牛窓町牛窓4178   /   Okayama-ken, Setouchi-shi, Ushimado-cho, Ushimado 4178

Tel: 0869-34-5397
Hours: 11:30~18:00 (Sat. & Sun. until 20:00); Closed on Tuesdays
E-mail address:  teresa@amethyst.memail.jp

Map: http://yahoo.jp/cfxNz7

Date visited: February 13, 2014