- Café Unten Shokudo (in Nago City) Satisfies Both Your Health Consciousness and Curiosity
- A Breathtaking View & Authentic Neapolitan Style Italian at “Café & Pizza Stardust Garden” in Miyakojima
“tago al tago” (Motobu Town); A Café Where You Just Might Find the Simple Joys of Life
post : 2018.09.26 06:00
If someone asks you, “Which do you like, the sea or the mountains?” Are you the type to respond right away, or do you have to think about it for a moment? Well, if you thought to choose between the sea or the mountain is like choosing or comparing apples and oranges, then I highly recommend “tago al tago” (written in lowercase letters), a café located in Motobu Town.
The café is about 15 minutes from Churaumi Aquarium by car, and is along a very peaceful mountain road. It’s so well-hidden that even the local Okinawans would probably never travel this road unless with specific intentions. As you go along the path surrounded in rich nature, suddenly between the trees, you’ll see a structure with a red-tiled roof, and another, a two-story building with exposed concrete. This, is the hidden little café, tago al tago, that only those ‘in the know’ (and that’s not very many), are familiar with.
The first charming point about the café is that it offers both apples and oranges; spectacular views of both the sea and mountains. From the tables and the balcony, spread before your eyes is a magnificent view f the subtropical trees with intense contrasts of light and shade and the skies that expand beyond them, and the beautiful, tropical seas that looks as though it melts in with the sky. Floating in the distance, outlined by its white, sandy contour, is Minna Island, famous for the great marine sports you can enjoy there.
Their second charming factor is their sinfully sweet and delicious desserts prepared by the owner with a sweet tooth. My recommendation is the Pavlova (830 yen), a meringue-based dessert popular in Australia and New Zealand. The owner, Mr. Yoshihiro Yahiro takes great care in whipping up the meringue from egg whites and baking it just right. The outside is delightfully crispy and the inside is deliciously moist. The contrasting combination with the meringue and the whipped cream and ice cream is simply amazing. The Pavlova there was like a parfait served on a plate, and the dark cherry marinate, an original creation of Mr. Yashiro, is a sophisticated ‘cherry on top’. The dark cherries are marinated in shikwasa citrus juice and kirsch which brings out the distinctive and subtle tartness and a great touch to accent the whole piece. The Pavlova was accompanied by plenty of juicy, colorful fruits like strawberries, dragon fruits, and tankan oranges. These fruits change according to season, he explained.
My next recommendation is their homemade flan (referred to as Pudding, 350 yen). The egg yolks, separated from the whites for the meringue, are mixed together with a generous portion of cream to create a rich and creamy texture. The bitter-sweet caramel also brings out the richness of the pudding.
For those of you who want to enjoy a variety, there is an assortment of three treats in their Dessert Plate (880 yen). The creamy Panna Cotta is decorated with a fruit sauce, and the base of milk and cream offers a simple but delicious taste, with a touch of vanilla. The Rolled Cake is a bright cheery yellow from the egg yolk, and although filled with plenty of whipped cream, it isn’t too sweet. The Gateau Chocolat is soft and moist, and the small crunchy bits of chocolate gives it a great texture
As for beverages, I recommend the coffee that Mr. Yahiro carefully prepares. Their roasted coffee beans are from Tettoh Coffee (featured in the Okinawa Clip article: http://okinawaclip.com/en/detail/1346). Mr. Yahiro reflects, “I used to go to Tettoh Coffee just as a regular customer. Over my visits, I was really impressed at how dedicated and stoic the owner, Mr. Satoshi Ishikawa, was about his work, about coffee.” He also explained how they’ve developed a good friendship due to Mr. Ishikawa’s kind assistance and guidance in opening his café, when he didn’t know where to start.
The coffee beans from Tettoh Coffee are medium-roast to go with the sweets he serves. Just the right balance of bitterness and clean aftertaste really do go well with his desserts. The coffee cup he used in serving is from the well-known Ikutoen, a pottery studio with a long history, located in Tsuboya. The beautiful dish that the Pavlov was served, by the way, was by a potter named Yoshiriki Yamada. The table and chairs were custom made by “indigo” located in Yomitan Village. The location and view are great features of the café, but everything else too, like the dishes, furniture, and plants all have a great sense of harmony, orchestrating a feeling that everything was naturally here from the very beginning.
“I’m not a coffee roaster nor a patissier. I simply wish for the customers who come here to enjoy a calm and relaxing teatime,” says Mr. Yahiro, who has a very likeable and down^to-earth way about him, and you can feel that throughout his café, “tago al tago,” which means “day to day” in Esperanto. Just like in its name, you just might find a happiness here that was left unnoticed in your day to day.
tago al tago
Address: 822 Furujima, Motobu Town, Okinawa
Business Hours: 12:00-18:00
*The prices are current as of May 2018.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer Nobuya Fukuda