Takasaki has a lot to offer in terms of quirky, modern cuisine, with the restaurant interiors often reflecting the varied and contemporary menus. The opportunities to sample a spectrum of world cuisines is one of the reasons the city holds such an appeal for a younger and creative crowd. There is one place on Takasaki’s map, however, which is particularly unusual, a gem you’d be hard struck to find in some of the world’s most diverse cities, let alone a more rural city in Gunma prefecture...
Inside a green dome, lamb chops sizzle and giant pizzas bubble away under the talented hands of the chefs at the Kiwi Cafe. New Zealand cuisine isn’t one that springs to mind immediately when you think of world class cooking, but perhaps the menu at the Kiwi cafe will surprise and change your mind.
For those of you missing authentic foods from your home countries, whether you hail from New Zealand or not, this is a fantastic source of foreign feasting. And you should take the word feast literally. In Japan, people eat an extraordinary amount, piling up their small plates at the sushi restaurants like they’re attempting to see how high a stack they can build before it falls over. At the kiwi cafe, the food portions are triple the necessary size. One 1,400 yen pizza is enough for 3, or for breakfast and lunch the next day. For 2800 you can fill up on an all you can eat and drink menu, but I’d take a look at the size of the portions or you may find yourself suffering from that well known syndrome of having eyes bigger than your belly.
The pizza bases are made from a mochi-like substance, with a thick and chewy result that might just get you addicted. The toppings range from meat feast, to fresh avocado salad or come packed with pepperoni. As well as the pizza and pasta selection, they offer more traditional New Zealand fare such as fish and chips and pies. I went there with two kiwi friends who assured me that the fish and chips were “just like home”.
The restaurant also does takeaways and provides a delivery service. Pies can also be made to order and brought directly to your home.
The restaurant has a really cosy, homely feel and local musicians (or sometimes not so local!) often play live music here in the evenings.
If you’re missing proper western food that can’t be satisfied with the usual ‘western food with a Japanese twist’ then I would definitely recommend driving down, just make sure you don’t eat lunch!