The coast road between Matsuyama and Imabari winds along beside the beautiful Seto Inland Sea, passing picturesque outcrops of rock topped with pine trees. Here and there you can see twin rocks in the sea linked with ropes of rice straw hung with tassels. If you’re passing along this way at lunchtime, you might like to eat where you can sit gazing out at this scenery. In that case, Ivy House restaurant is the place.
Ivy House is located about a mile or so from Fuwari, tucked against the hillside in a little lay-by. It’s easy to drive straight past it on this sometimes busy road. The restaurant is an attractive Mediterranean-looking building in a little garden of fancy brick walls. Inside, it’s very spacious, with thick wooden beams, white plaster walls, and homely-looking fireplaces. Big picture windows look out onto the Inland Sea with its constant traffic of ships, large and small. A red shipping light adds a touch of verticality to the scene. Ivy has a number of jolly carved mariners decorating the place, which seems fitting, considering the view.
The restaurant serves curry, pizza, hamburgers and salads, offering a rather Japanese take on these ‘foreign’ foods. The menu especially recommends the “Golden Curry”, and not surprisingly, this billing makes it more popular than anything else. I asked the gracious staff what it was—it’s plain rice, with a coating of omelet, in a little sea of curry sauce. I expressed an interest in the chicken katsu (chicken schnitzel) curry and was offered katsu in combination with the Golden Curry for 800 yen, so I allowed myself to be persuaded. The food arrived quickly on a large white plate. It looked very pretty, and the omelet was indeed golden. But the chicken was a little dry, and the curry sauce, although slightly piquant had no vegetable or other additions to make it interesting. If I went with a friend, I’d want to order a salad as well.
Ivy House has an unusually varied and detailed coffee menu, and a selection of cakes. Although the restaurant is spacious and could easily provide a non-smoking area, smoking is unfortunately permitted throughout.