If you’re looking for a cool place to eat in Kasama, look no further than the mysteriously named Wasugazen Cafe nestled in the hills beside the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum. It’s hard to miss, considering it’s a giant yellow western-style house with a full patio right abut the roadway; there is even parking, with enough spots for quite a crowd. Once inside, the décor is warm, dark mahogany-colored woodwork with cool silver fixtures, and the first thing to greet you at the door is the glass display case full of the hand-backed desserts they offer for sale.
Though the inside is somewhat small, perhaps only seating 20 to 25 people, there is almost seating available on the well-appointed porch outside. The walkway is quaintly inlaid stones, the tables come with parasols to keep off the sun, and there is a bbq standing to one side, promising some delicious cookouts on summer nights. One of the more interesting features of the building is the bathroom; hidden behind a rather Spartan-seeming door is a fully-featured (the automatic tap even has a light so you can see where you’re washing!) and sparkingly clean set-up. Just outside the door is a large mirror, which is easily mistaken for some kind of artsy gate because of the clever positioning, which gives you a little privacy to tidy up before returning to your seat.
The menu is rather small, but packed full of appetizing favorites. Curry, ham sandwiches, salads, specially blended flavored teas, desserts, and my favorite, the quiche. There are two kinds of quiche, but they sell out fast; this time we were left with the potato and sweet potato quiche, which sounds like an odd combination with cheese. However, it was extremely well conceived and one of the best quiches I’ve ever had. Most dishes come with a small house salad, but you can also get a set that includes salad, soup, tea or coffee, and a dessert. The desserts are nice and light, ranging from peach jelly with peaches inside to fluffy chiffon cake to blueberry tarts, and reasonably priced so that they are quite attractive for finishing up the meal.
If you’re tired of the inari sushi and soba that the area is famous for, Wasugazen is a nice retreat for the spirit and the palate.