Tea and scones in a converted barn surrounded by lush green countryside…… You would be forgiven for thinking I have been back to the UK for a quick visit, but no, this is a converted RICE barn, in the countryside near Miyoshi. However, the scones and tea are definitely the real thing!
On entering the cafe, which is run by Miyoshi local, Makoto and his British wife, Carina, you will be struck by an airiness and spaciousness that is rarely found in Japan. The high ceilings, numerous windows and pale wooden furniture make this a really pleasing place to spend an hour or two. The exposed beams contrast with the cream walls, and I was informed that the beams, which stand out in relief from the main wall, are a feature of rice barns to allow air to circulate and maintain the stored rice in prime condition. The walls are decorated with pictures, mostly with a modern pop feel to them, which were brought over from the UK along with the retro china for serving the tea and cakes.
I visited last month with my parents who were visiting from the UK, discerning critics perhaps! The lunch menu offers a variety of options. You could go for the simple sandwich lunch made with home baked bread, on the day we visited, the grilled chicken with garlic mayo sounded delicious. There are a couple of pasta dishes, and a couple of pizza choices available each day, served with salad and homemade wholemeal sourdough bread, which was deliciously light and airy. I opted for the tomato and local asparagus pizza, which certainly didn’t disappoint.
My parents were looking for a taste of home and chose the ultimate British comfort food , Cottage Pie (minced beef,onions and carrots in a tasty gravy topped with mashed potato). Makoto claimed to be nervous serving it up to “real” Brits, but he got a big thumbs up. The individual cottage pie was also served with salad and bread, and my parents said (and a I can verify this, because who could resist sneaking a mouthful or two?) that it was very tasty indeed.We finished off with tea and cakes, choosing our tea from the extensive tea selection and our cake from the counter. Choices included pecan and maple cake, carrot cake and scones. All were delicious but my personal favorite were the supremely light scones with strawberry jam and cream.
All the lunches are under ¥1000, and for an additional 180 yen you can add a hot or cold drink. The cakes are priced at ¥200-300.On Sundays they also serve a traditional Sunday Lunch, I was drooling when I saw the blackboard….. local pork roasted with lemon and herbs, with roasted vegetables alongside, bread, soup and salad and a drink, for ¥1280. (Price of Sunday Lunch varies slightly week to week) Will have to visit again soon!
Cafe Mike and Shirley (named after the co-owner Carina’s parents) opened in April and is well worth seeking out. The barn itself was previously used by Makoto’s family to store rice and Makoto and Carina have done the vast majority of the renovation work themselves. I think they can be very proud of the end result.
The cafe is situated by Kami-kawa-tachi station on the Geibi Line which runs from Hiroshima to Miyoshi. If you traveling by car you can access via Route 54 and Route 37 south of Miyoshi, it takes about an hour to drive from Hiroshima. If you are driving don’t be put off by the narrow road leading to the station, you may think there can’t possibly be a restaurant down there, but there is! Cafe Mike and Shirley is perfectly positioned for a lunchtime stop off on the way to (or an afternoon tea break on the way home from ) Miyoshi, where you might like to visit the Winery for a tour. If you are traveling with kids, they would enjoy playing in the excellent Miyoshi Undou Koen park which is right by the winery.
See updates to the menu and other information on their facebook page.
Opening hours : Weds – Sat 11:30am-5pm) and alternate Sundays (1st,3rd and 5th) Last Order for lunches Weds – Sat. 1:30
Payment: cash only
Address: 2271-2 Kami-kawa-tachi, Miyoshi