Kitchen Cafe Cranbon, the old barnhouse, Higashimatsuyama…
“A holy place for Instagram” is what Localina referred to Kitchen Cafe Cranbon as. A very literal translation of 「インスタの聖地」. In English we might refer to it more naturally as a mecca for IGers. Or even simpler again “instagrammable”. Whatever way you interpret the term; I can confirm that Kitchen Cafe Cranbon is instagood!
Kitchen Cafe Cranbon
As you turn down the driveway it’s like you’ve walked onto a film set. The building, modelled on an English country manor, is as distinctive as it is idiosyncratic. A bright yellow house with wooden framing mounted on humped land. Twisty steps and a curving ramp wind their way from the gravel driveway to the formidable entrance.
What is lacking for that true English feel is the garden, which is somewhat in a state of disrepair. The rusted classic car and sculpture actually add to the scene, but the overgrown garden doesn’t. There are a few well maintained flowering trees along the driveway though. You can currently see three of them in bloom. There is huge potential for the open spaces around the cafe which are not currently put to use.
To be honest, it reminds me more of Critter Country in Tokyo Disney Land than it does of English countryside. And the alternative name reinforces this image. The subheading on the signs and hoardings is “the old barnhouse” or Old Barn’s, which is more reflective of the theme of the establishment. Inside reinforces this further with an old west saloon feel. A pole barn wood stove, natural wood trimmings, high ceiling, a crooked stairs, nooks and crannies add to the Critter Country feel.
There are three different seating areas. The main area as you come in the door, a mezzanine above that and a room a sublevel above the mezzanine at the top of the building. The latter can be used for private functions. It has tables and chairs that can be arranged into different seating patterns and would easily fit 20 people. And possibly upto 40 seated customers. There are two balconies, one either side of the room.
The mezzanine is quite small with just two 4 seater tables, but nice light and stained glass windows. The area as you come in by the reception is the largest. It has counter space, a large conservatory type annex and a handful of tables and chairs in the main area centred around the pipe stove. The toilets are on this floor, one of which has the coolest fold back wooden doors. These toilets are wheelchair friendly.
Overall the food is broadly classified as Italian. They have several pasta, gratin and doria dishes. The Chicken Pepperoncini is said to be the speciality of the cafe. Drinks include juice, cola, alcohol and hot / cold beverages (tea / coffee). The cafe serves lunch from 11.30 am to 3 pm. They have a seasonal lunch menu. Outside of that time you can order from the grand menu.
It is okay to just order a drink and dessert, which is what we did today. The kids wanted knickerbocker glories, or parfait as they are called here. They only had two on the menu – a chocolate and banana one or a fruit one. To be honest, we have had better, they were just mediocre. And they are not particularly big either, but the juice size is quite generous.
- You can book online or by phone. No reservation required, but you might have to wait to be seated.
- Discounts available online and in Moteco
- Wheelchairs ok
- No baby changing facilities
- There is a Soba restaurant beneath the Cafe Cranbon
- One outdoor table outside the soba restaurant
- Smoking allowed in the top room of the restaurant, but nobody was smoking and no smell of smoke. There is an ashtray outside the soba restaurant
- Really wonderful and professional staff
It was really fun for the kids to visit Cafe Cranbon. I liked it too, particularly for the Instagrammability! There are several elements of it that I loved, but not enough to give it a place in my top ten cafes in Saitama to visit with kids. However, I would place it high on an #Instaworthy list and also in the list for cafes in Higashimatsuyama to visit with kids. My top choice on that Higashimatsuyama cafe list remains to be Garden and Cafe Prunus.
Kitchen Cafe Cranbon Information
Hours: 11.30 am to 9.30 pm (lunch menu until 3 pm) Thursday to Tuesday, closed on Wednesdays.
Cost: Moderate. Budget for between 1000 and 2000 yen per adult.
Address: 2428-5 Matsuyama, Higashimatsuyama, Saitama 355-0005
No Official Website, details on Hot Pepper
The nearest station is Higashimatsuyama station on the Tobu Tojo line. It is about a 25 to 30 minute walk from the station to Cafe Cranbon. You can cut out some of this journey by taking a bus from the station to Shimin Byoin Mae and walking the rest of the way. It is an approximate 7 minute walk from the hospital.
By car the cafe is an approximate 13 minute drive from the Higashimatsuyama interchange. Parking is free and plentiful.