A Word of Mouth Antique Shop Restaurant that Deserves its Oral Praise
I first heard about ‘Sasa Kawanobe’ by word of mouth from a friend of mine. She spoke of a small cozy restaurant recently opened and run by a couple in Hikone who were well established antique dealers. They were opening up their home and using their treasured wares to serve gourmet Japanese food to a small number of customers on a few select days of the week. They had no web page and welcomed guests by reservation only. It sounded exactly like my kind of place.
Several weeks and a one reservation later I finally made it there with another eager Hikone friend. We drove through the narrow streets of the old butsudan (Buddhist altar) making area and pulled up into a driveway to be met by the owner himself. He greeted us in a warm friendly manner and led us kindly into the house.
The house’s open restaurant area is set up in traditional Japanese tatami room style. However the many antiques on display as well as the four private eating ‘coves’ adds an eclectic dynamic that enhances its atmosphere. Beautiful garden views also spread across every window. A feast for the eyes even before the food appears.
Taking seat at the table we were shown amongst several other pair of diners we were offered a starting cup of matcha tea and a sweet. Then followed several courses of delight covering sushi, local vegetable dishes, roast beef, tempura, grilled chicken (and more!) before rice, dessert and coffee were served. I felt well cared for and well filled on top of already enjoying the ambiance of the place and the company of my friend.
After lunch (where the wife busied herself catering to our culinary comfort), the husband took us for a tour around the space sharing his expert knowledge and passion for the antiques he has lovingly collected. And seeing as the set course lunch was an amazingly reasonable 2000 yen my eyes were happy to rove back across our table of plates and trinkets around the room to see which treasures I fancied buying…. Hmm, maybe the mushroom plate.
Sasa Kawanobe (川野辺) is open for lunch Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:30am to 2:00pm. Sweets and tea are served from 2 to 5pm. Both options require reservations. To do so, please call 0749 24 0910.
Address: 〒522-0036 彦根市 (Hikone City) 沼波町(Nonami Cho) 7