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Cha no Ma Samurai Dining

A pleasing fusion of Japanese and Western styles

Matsuyama is home to a chain of restaurants based on the theme of ‘samurai dining’. What this involves in practice is a restaurant with a small and low doorway that you have to stoop to pass through, presumably so you can’t go in waving your sword about. Otherwise, there isn’t anything else noticeably samurai-esque about the restaurants. What they all have in common however is a generally dark interior with pleasant lighting that falls only on the tables, and some pretty cool interior design touches. The glass lampshades are hand painted with Japanesque motifs.

Cha no Ma restaurant is located on the second floor of an inconspicuous building on Ichibancho street in the centre of Matsuyama. When you get to top of the stairs, you’re faced with a round door with a bamboo handle, which may leave you confused as to how to get in. The door rolls back to the left. Beyond is a cavernous dark room with long tables and little booths for small groups. Down a corridor lined entirely with bottles of shochu of every kind is a white room floored entirely with cushions.

The food in Cha no Ma is a pleasing fusion of Japanese and Western styles. Many of the dishes contain cheese—the marscapone cheese in a rich dressing makes a delicious starter. There are also spring rolls which ooze a combination of cheeses when you bite into them. Vegetables are combined well with various meats—there’s a concoction of juicy bacon and cabbage, tender chicken breast in a rich tomato sauce, and a bowl of lightly baked potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, various mushrooms, onions and more of the juicy bacon, served hot with a herbal dressing. This is a heavenly combination. A more Japanese-style offering is the gobō tempura—earthy tasting burdock sliced thinly and fried in light batter. Another delicious offering is the plate with four little snacks—rich and fatty slices of duck, smoked salmon with capsicum peppers, mild egg roll, and very simple edamame beans.

One of the beauties of Cha no Ma is that it serves Suntory Premium Malts beer on tap. This Japan’s best beer from a major brewery. There’s also an extensive choice of sake and shochu, as well as cocktails.

For 4,000 yen, you can eat your fill of imaginative food, and enjoy a constant stream of good things to drink.

Name in Japanese
茶の間 - Cha no Ma

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Olga 7 years ago
Samurai Dining - sound cool!

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