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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Tameals Cafe & Bar

Technically and by self-definition Tameals calls itself a cafe and a bar, and it’s located right in the middle of Tokyo’s JR Shinagawa station.  I happened to be with friends and we were looking for a quick dinner before saying good-night; Tameals was the only place that looked appealing to most (some?) people in the group and which could accommodate our group of 7 people (albeit at separate tables).  We missed out on the “cafe” part but were happy to partake of the dinner & pub selections.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the interior, mostly because it was really crowded and some people don’t like having their photo taken by strangers, but it was a nice place.  The main seating area had a very “Irish pub” kind of feel.  There was a main counter at the bar, several smaller tables for 2-4 people on the floor, and a long counter that ran all around the pub.  The counters faced the windows, which were huge–good for people watching.  The counters, tables, chairs, and stools were all done in dark wood which lent a relaxing atmosphere to the room.

Here is a photo of the main bar from the Tameals homepage (see link below):

Tameals Bar

My sons ordered a plate of sausages and a plate of fried potatoes to share between them.  They also got real Coca-Cola in the old-fashioned bottles:

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The sausages were served with a nice European-style mustard.

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The fries were garnished with sea salt, rosemary, and a clove of deep fried garlic.

I opted for the Moroccan rice for 890 Yen.  It was a rice dish topped with a Moroccan sauce (a little spicy, a bit like curry but with a different flavor), fried vegetables, a kebab (lamb?), and a dollop of yogurt.

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Yum.  I love ethnic food, and this was really good.

The best part of my meal?  The mojito!  It was made with lots of fresh mint and just the right amount of rum and soda water.  Very refreshing after a hot afternoon of walking around in Tokyo.

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This was so good, I might try to make them at home.

Tameals is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.

+ What I liked about this place:  Decor was relaxing, good food, good drinks.

– What I didn’t like about this place:  A bit crowded, but it’s in the middle of one of the busiest stations in Tokyo, so that obviously can’t be helped.

Date visited: July 6, 2013

Address:  TAMEALS 品川店、東京都港区高輪 3-26-27  エキュート品川サウス

TAMEALS Shinagawa shop, Tokyo, Minato-ku, Takanawa 3-26-27 Ecute Shinagawa South

TEL: 03-5421-8011

Hours: 7:00am to 11:00pm (until 10:00pm on Sundays and holidays)

homepage:  http://www.conception-gp.com/tameals/

Map:

Map of location *inside* Shinagawa station:

Tameals station map