Boasting the No.1 production rate in Japan for white peaches, and muscat and pione grapes, Okayama is affectionately known both as the ‘sunny country’ and the ‘fruit country’.
In Okayama city, there are plenty of shops where you can eat fruit parfaits made using the area’s seasonal fruit. It’s even been called, “Okayama, the town of fruit parfaits”.
This time we will introduce the café that local people most highly recommend to enjoy a superb fruit parfait.
Located just over Tsurumi Bridge in the direction of Korakuen garden’s main entrance, at the crossroads, you can see a renovated early Showa period building. We are heading towards the retro modern “café Antenna” located on the 1st floor.
As one whole side of the cafe is covered in large windows, during the day bright light shines in, and the ceiling is high, which makes the interior feel open. There is also a large impressive photograph of Yasuo Kuniyoshi, a local Izushi-born (Okayama city) artist who was also active in the USA.
As well its superb fruit parfaits, the café is known for its delicious Sri Lankan curry tha recipe for which was learned directly from a Sri Lankan!
For those who wish to try both dishes, we recommend the “Antenna Freak Set” JPY1620 (incl. tax)! The gorgeous “Izushi Taisho Romance parfait” (ordered alone is JPY1080 incl. tax) made using seasonal fruit, and the mini “Sri Lanka Curry” filled with local vegetables are the ultimate combination.
The gorgeous curry, made using Okayama Spanish mackerel and shrimp, is just spicy enough to stimulate your appetite in a way that might just become a habit! Apparently, the correct way to eat the dish is to mix the toppings (8 different locally grown vegetables) well with the rice, and then crush a “papada” corn cracker and sprinkle it on top.
“My mother used to live in Kobe and learned the way the curry is made in its origins from a Sri Lankan who lived next door, and that became the base for this dish. It’s a dish she brought with her as she married to Okayama, and it’s a curry that has a nearly 70-year history,” says Mr. Goryozono, the owner.
The Izushi Taisho Romance Parfait JPY1080 (incl. tax), the cafe’s No.1 bestseller, includes Okayama grown “Kibi no Ookimi” brand strawberries and large melon pieces, and fig gelato that is carefully made by a local Okayama farm.
Both the fruit used for the toppings and the gelato change according to the season. From the end of May, muscat grapes replace the strawberries!
Another of the cafe’s charms is that you can appreciate art as you relax.
Lovely, simple Bizenyaki ceramics made by a local artist are on display and for sale in the café’s gallery style interior. If you see something you like, you’re welcome to pick it up!
The area of the café that has beautifully colored stained glass lamps that interweave glass and light is lovely, as well…
“I don’t want only this shop to be bustling with people, I want to make the whole area attractive and bustling. I hope many people come after becoming interested in the Izushi town area”, are the words of the Goryozono’s, the shop owners.
Part of their efforts towards this goal is to allow visitors to experience the charm of the town. In August, during the Okayama Korakuen special late-night “Garden of Dreams” event, bizenyaki lanterns will be placed on the road in front of the café to illuminate the building, and during the month leading up to Christmas, the shop interior will be lit up with stained-glass lamps.
The owner couple’s cozy, openhearted hospitality makes for a lovely comfortable café where you might just end up spending more time than you intend. If you visit Korakuen Garden, do drop by for a visit.
Address: 1-8-23 Izushi-cho, Kita ward, Okayama city
Access: 7-minutes walk from Okayama Electric Tramway Higashiyama line’s Shiroshita station in the Korakuen garden main entrance direction
By, Setouchi Finder Editors
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