Kaseiro, Kamakura 華正樓鎌倉

Kaseiro was recommended to me at least two years ago by my hairdresser, Nobu. I've been going to his salon as long as I've been in Japan, and he always has some interesting thoughts on places to go and things to do around Tokyo.

He described it as "Chinese food served by middle-aged ladies in Kimono". Well, I can't really put it better than that! It's opposite the big Buddha in Kamakura which means that, on a weekend, you can expect loads of traffic and hoards  of people bustling about, which does not make for a relaxing time. Also, if you want to drive to Kamakura on a weekend you should budget for lots of time to get there - or leave early.

On the day I visited, our party set out by car around 12.30pm and arrived at 3.30pm. We called ahead, not really expecting to still be able to do lunch as we had booked for 1pm, but the restaurant told us there was no problem and they were waiting for us. The parking area is a bit of a challenge as you need first of all to get into it past the traffic and then find a slot. Eventually some people leaving a funeral drove out so we were able to park. Actually there were a couple of funeral lunches on that day, lending a rather less than festive tone.

One advantage of being late was that we got to have our own private room, with a nice view over Kamakura out to the sea. To our astonishment at one point a bushy tailed squirrel dashed past, adding to the lovely atmosphere in this old building.

The food is old-school Japanese chuuka, and rather refined at that. It's not cheap, but the experience is unique and I'd highly recommend it as a place to bring foreigners. Noone could be failed to be charmed by the service and surroundings.

Tel: 0467-22-0280


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