- 3 min read

Karasu Restaurant

Western-style food in a historic building

The area called Mitsu in Matsuyama is full of historical buildings, and one of them is the Hakuyo Kaikan, originally an educational facility for girls. But in its current incarnation as a restaurant, you might not even notice that it’s a stylish building from the early Showa Period, or 1928 to be precise.

The restaurant is named Karasu, which means ‘crow’, and the building is adorned with various crow motifs. There’s a big old pine tree in front of it with a jolly tree house attached to the trunk. Karasu bills itself as a hamburger, pasta and ‘omrice’ restaurant, although both need a little explanation. In Japan, hamburgers are often served as a main dish accompanied with rice, and this is what Karasu offers. Omrice is typically rice flavored with ketchup and chicken, enveloped in a more or less soft omelet, sometimes served with sauce.

I went on a holiday at 12:30 and had to wait about thirty minutes to be seated. Karasu is undeniably popular. The stylish old building was once remodeled inside as a Balinese café and a lot of that décor remains. It's agreeably arty, with large bare beams and plenty of carved antique wood.

A smartly-dressed waitress showed me to my seat and kindly explained the menu options to save me the trouble of reading it. Some of the offerings were already sold out at 12:30. I chose the omrice with demi-glace and white sauce for 1,180 yen. It arrived quickly, accompanied by a cup of corn cream soup and a little bowl of salad. Everything was attractively presented on white china, and the omrice looked delicious. However, omrice isn’t really adult food, and I found it bland and little too sweet. The soup was also fairly sweet too, so the combination wasn’t hugely satisfying. The egg was soft and creamy however, and I took some pleasure in that. This particular option includes a drink of fruit juice or coffee and I had the mango juice which was excellent—thick, rich and aromatic.

The background music was trad jazz which is pleasant and listenable, although a bit distracting. The staff also greet diners loudly, making it a noisy place. Karasu is family oriented, and there were many families with young children. Most of the dishes available come in three sizes, with different prices for each, which is another convenience for groups of mixed ages and appetites. A kid’s lunch is offered for 580 yen.

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