The Modern High Atrium Space at Cafe Cube is a pleasant place to rest in the summer heat (Photo: Bonson Lam)

Cafe Cube at Hosomi Museum Okazaki

Mainstream Italian Fare in an elegant setting

The Modern High Atrium Space at Cafe Cube is a pleasant place to rest in the summer heat (Photo: Bonson Lam)
Bonson Lam   - 3 min read

Eating in an art space somehow makes everything tastes better. From the airy ceilings, the hushed cultured conversations, it seems that every bite takes on an extra dimension as form, taste, texture and function are studied in a different light.

At Café Cube, the designers have also taken liberty in making the eatery an art space. The grainy sandy brown walls frame large floor to ceiling windows, while the high ceilings host two washi tapestries, modern yet making reference to Kyoto’s traditional arts, a signature of Hosomi Museum itself. The works, called Nitten Gatten, or the Sun and Moon in the heavens, is abstract, yet clear enough for you to make out the subject matter.

On the outside, there is a courtyard with two wonderful features. One, a small fish bowl like pond with goldfish, another reference to the works of Kamisaka Sekka, a Rinpa artist celebrated in the Museum. Two, there is a grand piano shaped counter table. Guests can sit side by side by the counter, with a working grand piano in the middle. Every third Thursday the piano and drum kit is put to good use, as the café is open then for dinner and a jazz concert, further making use of the acoustics in this high atrium like space.

Café Cube is also known for its pasta, one that reputedly draws a long queue on the weekends. On a weekday however, it is pleasantly quiet, even with the tour groups moving past in the main museum. The menu itself, like the museum, is simple and mainstream, a safe bet in days where menus can be increasingly difficult to interpret. The tomato based pastas are a standout, with a hearty taste that is not too heavy on your stomach. I also had a light antipasto style salad and potato dish. While the potato served two ways (a seasoned mashed potato with what looks like a potato crisp) seems innovative, the dish remains in the boundary of safe mainstream dining. The lunch course set is good value at 1,500 yen, including appetizer, salad, pasta, bread and tea or coffee. There is also a cake set for 800 yen. Please note that they only take cash, not credit cards. While the space looks deceptively large with the high ceilings, the small number of seats could make this a good venue for private functions.

If all that art around the café has inspired you, then pop in next door to the Art Cube gift shop, an intimate space that has a surprisingly large variety of artworks and gifts, from kokeshi dolls to cards, prints and more Kamisaka Sekka goldfish motifs.

Bonson Lam

Bonson Lam @bonson.lam

I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric laneways of Kyoto last century.  I am humbled to have met many distinguished people during this time, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperia...