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Curcova curry in Matsuyama

Curry for adults

Hojo, once an independent town and now officially a part of Matsuyama, has many attractions—beaches, easily climbable mountains, a couple of good sake breweries, a wealth of traditional old buildings, and recently, a very agreeable new curry shop. Curcova stands on the ‘avenue’ leading to the ‘plaza’ in front of Iyo Hojo station. These words merit the ironic quotation marks because the scale is so small, but therein lies their charm.

This little commercial heart of Hojo has not fared well in recent years, but the townspeople are determined to pull off a renaissance. Curcova is just one manifestation of this direction. As you head from the station towards Hojo Port and Kashima Island, you can’t miss the curry shop on the right-hand side with its jaunty yellow and white paint and a Dick Bruno-esque logo of a lady eating a plate of curry. Curcova brands itself as ‘curry for adults’, distinguishing itself from the often bland and sweet curry available in many other places.

I dropped into Curcova around two o'clock after a cold morning taking photos on Kashima Island. I received a warm and informal welcome, not only from the staff but also from a local gentleman who was having a coffee at the counter. It felt like being among friends. I ordered the Kazahaya curry, topped with a soft fried egg for 600 yen. Kazahaya is the old name for this part of the coast and it means ‘fast wind’, for the stiff breeze from the sea. This curry is quite piquant, although a standard mild version is also available. The combination of the soft egg yolk and spicy beef curry was very good. Other toppings include fried pork cutlet which comes in generously thick slices, and hamburger. Most restaurants in Japan offer free tea, but at Curcova, the iced tea is jasmine, a rather exotic luxury which complements the curry well.

As I was eating, the master of the shop was pureeing fresh garlic that he grows himself in a nearby field. The scent of the garlic was intoxicating, like fine perfume. For dessert, Curcova offers strawberries with ice cream and meringues. The strawberries are sourced locally from Yamamoto Noen. Curcova has its own little library and after I finished my curry, I browsed through a couple of books of photos of the area from the previous two centuries. Hojo was a lively, populous place then, and hopefully it will prosper again, now that the seeds are being planted.

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Tony Mariani 11 years ago
The place looks great. The food sounds good and the price cannot be beat. The Mrs. and I will have to check this place out our next visit to Matsuyama. Ehime Prefecture truly is the lovely princess.

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