Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Chugoku Sanyo, San-in 中国地方山陽、山陰 - Cafe Antenna アンテナ

Visited 16.04.2015 (Thu)

Fruit Parfait Street. Okayama is known as Harenokuni (晴れの国) or sunny country because it experiences more sunny days than any other parts of Japan. And because of its favourable, temperate weather condition, it is an excellent place for wide varieties of fruits to breed in and Okayama is famously known for their high quality (and quantity of) white peaches and muscat grapes in Japan. Having been to Okayama twice (in 2015 and most recently end 2017), I have yet to coincide my visit with the harvesting season of white peaches which falls between mid July to mid Aug; something I will love to do so in future! As different fruits can be enjoyed in Okayama all year round, a campaign named "Fruit Parfait Street" (fruit parfait no machi フルーツパフェの街) was introduced in 2009 to promote local produce. To date, there are 37 cafes/restaurants dotted within Okayama city, participating in this popular campaign. Apart from introducing various types of parfait using seasonal fruits, each cafe/restaurant creates its very own irresistible signature to appeal sweets lovers and stand out from the rest. I have to say, after this visit to Cafe Antenna, fruit parfait has become a food item that I will think of instantaneously when anyone asked me about Okayama.

A quick summary of Okayama fruits season:
- White peaches: Mid July to mid August
- New pione grapes (ニューピオーネ): Early April to late October
- Ichijuku (イチジク) or figs: Mid September to mid November
- Momotaro grapes (桃太郎ぶどう): Early July to late November
- Strawberries: Early November to late May

List of cafes/restaurants participating in "Fruit Parfait Street" campaign: http://www.okayama-cci.or.jp/activation/fruitparfait.html

Exclusive parfait. Located along Korakuen-dori (後楽園通り) and within walking distance from Korakuen and Okayama Castle, Antenna is a retro cafe housed in a refurbished shophouse built during Taisho era. When we reached the cafe in the late afternoon after visiting Korakuen, the cafe was already packed with patrons, enjoying parfaits for afternoon tea. Despite being an old building, the ambience was pleasantly cosy; the high ceiling of the cafe makes it spacious as well. Fortunately, we managed to find a side bench table which could occupy the three of us. Upon seated, we flipped through the photobook menu which came with pictures of their delectable parfaits. We were definitely spoilt for choice! Eventually decided to order their signature creation parfait and a traditional dessert to share.

- Izushi Taisho Roman Parfait いづし大正浪漫パフェ (1,080 yen): Exclusive to Cafe Antenna, this is a beautifully decorated parfait which is so Instagram picture worthy. The entire body of the tall glass is filled with layers of cream and assortment of fresh fruits, topped up with a scope of ice cream and strawberries, and wedged with a slice of Okayama melon at its edge. This parfait has such precise balance of sweetness and sourness which makes every mouthful so satisfying. One point worth mentioning is the owner liaises directly with fruit farmers to ensure the freshest ingredients are utilised in their creations.

- Wafu macha ice 和風抹茶アイス: A traditional interpretation of local dessert, made up of a sccop of macha flavoured gelato, azuki paste, shiratama dango (白玉団子), handmade hiromitsu yuzu agar and cut fruits.

Izushi Taisho Roman Parfait 

Wafu macha ice

Cafe Antenna アンテナ
Opening hrs: 1100 - 1900 hrs, closed on Tuesdays

How to get there? 

(1) By tram. From Okayama Ekimae Station, board Okayama Electric Tramway Higashiyama line (東山線) and alight at Okaden Jo-shita Station (岡電城下駅). It takes 10 minutes by foot from the tram station.

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